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Lead or manage—is that the question?

by Miki Saxon

I found a great ‘who cares’ quote w/link about leadership vs. management at Raven’s Brain. It was followed up few days later by a post at Gura’s Blog,

I got into a Leadership program at work. One of the main points is defining the difference between management and leadership. The jist is that management deals with specific tasks and functions and that leadership deals with people. You don’t have to be a manager to be a good leader. As the Kali lessons have repeated time and time again, to be a good leader, you have to also be a good follower and thus the term of “managing up.” I personally dislike the business jargon that implies a one-way street in leadership and/or management. Yes, a leader must step forward, but before the step is taken they have to do a lot of listening and observation and be aware if anyone is actually following them in the direction they are going into.


Smart gal—one-way streets exist only in the imagination as long as the people involved can walk away.

It’s a fascinating blog by a real person, sans MBA, who is following a more patient career path than you find in the US. Reading through some of the other posts, you get a good sense of who/how she is at work and at home.

Gura is acting manager now that her boss retired and, based on the person revealed in the blog, if her senior managers have any sense they’ll make it permanent in June.

Just an aside, but Gura’s writing skills will bring tears to the eyes of most American managers when they realize that she’s in the Philippine’s.


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3 Responses to “Lead or manage—is that the question?”
  1. Michael Lee StallardNo Gravatar Says:

    Today, most organizations achieve “task excellence” that comes from strong management but fail to achieve “relationship excellence” that comes from leadership. In our book entitled “Fired Up or Burned Out” my co-authors and I show how great leaders of nations, businesses, sports teams and social sector organizations achieved relationship excellence by creating a “Connection Culture” where everyone felt like they were a part of the team. Creating Connection Cultures will b the next step in the evolution of organizations because the coming labor shortage and increasing globalization of markets will make Connection Cultures and relationship excellence necessary to thrive and, in many cases, to survive. You can find out more at FiredUpOrBurnedOut.com.

  2. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    The best managers have always been relationship people, Lou Gerstner, even if it wasn’t a relationship that I personally would have wanted, Jack Welch. Anything that encourages recognition that everything is about relationships, that companies are made of people and that they are most successful when those people all willingly move in the same direction is a good thing.

  3. Stephen James JoyceNo Gravatar Says:

    Hello Jonathan,

    My name is Stephen James Joyce, the author of ‘Teaching an Anthill to Fetch’, I’m a recognized authority on collaboration and my book shares crucial insights on one of the most pressing questions in business to-day: How can we develop a greater sense of collaboration in the workplace?

    Collaborative intelligence has become an important issue lately because of the need in business to respond more quickly to a rapidly changing environment. Technology rushes to the rescue. Will a piece of software enable collaborative leadership or enhance employee retention all on its own? Everyday we hear promises about what a piece of ‘collaborative software’ can do for our team. But have we heard this before? “A PC on every desk will lighten your work load”, “becoming networked will enable us to share the work more equally”. We all know that these promises haven’t always turned out the way we thought they would.

    If you are working in a team that’s ‘just not working well’ you’ll know what I mean immediately. No matter how sophisticated a piece of software is – there will always be the human factor. At either end of the interaction, there is a person, each with their own likes and dislikes and personal quirks. Collaboration intelligence depends upon the right tools but also the right attitude.

    I’m offiering a free downloadable eBook (http://www.stephenjamesjoyce.com/content/view/11/17/) you will learn how to:

    • Develop great collaborative leadership
    • Reduce the strain of working inside a team
    • Achieve more through people and less through politics
    • Solve problems with greater creativity /flexibility
    • Raise the level of employee retention and stabilize your team
    • Accomplish more with your team using less effort
    • Increase the leadership skills of the entire team

    Collaborative leadership further enhances the sense of connection people have with their team. So developing collaborative intelligence (defined as the ability to harness the energy and intelligence of a group or team) should be the prime objective of any business or team wishing to ‘up their game’. Collaborative software is part of that strategy not the complete solution.

    When you develop leadership skills through out the entire team more can be achieved with less effort. Employee retention is raised by higher levels of collaboration within an organization. Nothing succeeds like success. When collaboration and collaborative leadership is high, team members feel much less inclined to leave for another company. As a result employee retention is much higher. Your team has become a ‘team of choice’ and people want to join it.

    Experience tells us that breakthrough performance is not just about the skills of individual team members. Special team efforts come from galvanizing each member around a clear and highly challenging objective. This kind of performance does not depend on a ‘secret ingredient’. In fact when a series of specific factors are put in place, collaborative leadership for example, it becomes inevitable.

    The result of applying the tools found in this free downloadable eBook is higher collaborative intelligence and in the long run, greater employee retention and team stability. Of course there is the side benefit of a happier workplace.

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