“Manager vs. Leader” definition

In today’s Investor’s Business Daily I saw an article about Jack Stultz, the Lt. General who is chief of the Army Reserve Command.  It’s worth a read, especially when Stultz discusses the cross-pollination among his various military and civilian (at Procter and Gamble) experiences:

“P&G valued a lot of what I brought from my military experience. A lot of my successes in the military are from things I brought from P&G.” At P&G, Stultz learned the difference between those in charge:
• Managers are committed to improving a system’s efficiency.
• Leaders see a lack of production and take risks to change the system.

Stultz goes on to talk about the “violent conflict” that can be generated by the manager-leader gap.  

I relate to that conflict, especially since it often rages within me.  I’m pretty good at both strategy and execution, but my temperament is such that I’m never satisfied with doing only one or the other. I enjoy running the entire race: identifying openings, designing an approach to exploit them, then running and optimizing that new system until it demonstrates.  However, I then get the itch for the next challenge.

NOTE: I’m adding new posts on this topic…the first is on managers and influence and is here.


12 Responses

  1. In my recently published pre-teen novel, Ian, one of Santa’s Helpers, struggles to understand the difference between managing and leading. He understands that management is based upon processes, order, and controls and that leadership is more about developing the potential in others.
    I think that it would be a step in the right direction if we were to teach some of the management and leadership concepts to our youth at an early age. Later on in life, they will be more receptive to change which is always happening in the business world, or with life in general.
    In Book #2, Ian will be working with Santa’s Cabinet and trying to get away from some of the old fashioned tops down management styles that are slowing things down in a very rapidly changing world.

    All the best!
    Eric Dana Hansen
    Author of “IAN, CEO, North Pole”

  2. […] “Manager vs. Leader” definition by Paul Ritchie on Crossderry Blog […]

  3. Thanks for the reply, Eric. I agree that management emphasizes order and controls. I’m don’t buy into leadership being strictly about people (at least that’s what’s implied). The reason I like the “Stultz” definition in the post is in changing the system, leaders must acknowledge and address all segments of the “people, process, technology” triad.

  4. […] “Manager vs. Leader” definition […]

  5. I would say that the main difference between managers and leaders lays within people characters. Everyone can be a manager (not a good one though) but not everyone can be a leader.

    Management and leadership isn’t about processes. It’s about people.

  6. But Pawel, can’t there be leadership along the technology dimension? Isn’t it leadership to take a risk in pursuing a innovative technological direction?

  7. Thanks for sharing this Paul. Interesting article and very useful. I also agree with your view (I think) that the leadership question can/should cut across the 3 areas – people, processes, technology (aka tools).

    Individually, one can exercise and demonstrate leadership. But the more important is to do it across the 3 dimensions. And this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s very hard but it needs to be done and hence, “leadership” is the ingredient to make things better.

  8. The debate between manager and leaders has been raging forever. Regardless of the exact definitions, people tend to equate leadership with more positive attributes than management. I’m not sure that this is warranted even though I often describe myself as a more of a leader than a manager.

    As I said in My Management Guidelines (http://alignment.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/my-management-guidelines/), I manage more by influence (suggesting direction) than by
    control (enforcing rules). I also believe in management by exception (tell me about exceptional successes or unexpected issues) than
    management by status (tell me about what you accomplished).

    Are these actually the attributes of leadership or just one style of management? I sense another post coming.

  9. […] vs. leader” question that so many seem interested in (it is my number one post and its here).  The manager is most interest in today’s “life” while the leader is focused on […]

  10. […] Of Axes and Saws … on PM Quote of the Day — Ab…Balancing today… on “Manager vs. Leader…Glen B. Alleman on Is forensic science isn’…Is forensic science … on Closing up […]

  11. I disagree with Stultz that only Leadership is about risk and Management is about controllables. All business leadership/management is about decision making and all decision making worth anything involves risks.

    My own delineation is that “Leaders optimise upside opportunity; Managers minimise downside risk”. Offence and defense to use battle terms. Commanding the defence requires just as much risk taking as leading the attack.


  12. how both manager and leader can work on a same program?

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