Management or leadership?

March 3, 2021 · Print This Article

Are management and leadership two different skills or do you need to be able to do both to succeed in either role?

As a rough definition, leaders lead through their personal example, through having the charisma that makes people want to follow them and their vision, through being able to make people feel valued and part of a team. Equally, some leaders will lead through fear, and contempt of their followers, using position and authority as means of control. Leaders can often build a business, a charity, or even a church from scratch.

Managers are just that. They take over an existing situation, a business, a department. a church, a charity, and manage it. Just as there are good and bad leaders so there are good and bad managers. The best managers often display leadership-like qualities, the worst can likewise manage through fear, using power and position to control.

From the privilege of having worked for both good and bad leaders and managers I have observed that the good ones make you feel important, they are encouragers, supportive, and believe in you and your ability. They cope well with change and are not afraid to listen to new ideas and approaches. Conversely, the bad ones almost always suffer from an inferiority complex, they are afraid of people being better than them and surround themselves with ‘yes’ people. They run away from challenge and change. They demoralise the people who work for them.

A famous advertising man once said of his company, “If we employ people smaller than ourselves, we will become a company of pygmies. If we employ people bigger than ourselves, we will become a company of giants.” Perhaps that sums up the difference between leaders and managers. Leaders are not afraid to fail, to employ people who can do the job better than themselves. Managers tend to like the status quo and feel they are in charge, so they are uncomfortable with risk-takers, they are likely to employ people who won’t rock the boat.

Good leaders and managers delegate, trust their people, and don’t make a big issue of mistakes. They can still be blunt and correct people when needed but without making them feel worthless. Bad leaders and managers don’t delegate, they go through the motions of doing so but then micromanage. They jump on people’s mistakes and correct them in an unpleasant manner which destroys confidence.

Of course, this is not a definitive work on leadership and management, whole books have been, and still are, written on the subject. But these observations do come from experience of working in small and large companies for over 45 years. Which leads to the question, what is the best book ever written on management and leadership?

The answer, if you aspire to be a good manager or leader, or a combination of both, is found in the Bible. Not everyone will agree with that but if you read and study it, you may be surprised. Let’s look at just one example.

Since March last year, we have been in lockdown with little light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, the Prime Minister announced his roadmap out of lockdown. Without knowing it he was demonstrating the principle written on in Proverbs 29 verse 18. It says, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” The roadmap out of lockdown has given the UK a vision of the future, hope for better times ahead.

That is also a key to good management and leadership, giving a vision of the future, a goal to work towards. That is just one example from the Bible, there are many more, why not have a look and see how many principles you can find on management and leadership in a book most people ignore!

Keith Hartrick

Keith is an editor at Because


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Got something to say?