Sunday, August 11, 2013

Leadership first, management second

Following on from my last post I'm interested to read how leadership and management fit into the concept of everything being created twice (first mentally and second physically).  Stephen Covey writes that leadership is the first creation and management is the second because management is a "bottom line" focus that is concerned with how best to accomplish things.  Leadership has to come first because it is "top line" and asks what you actually want to accomplish.  There's another ladder metaphor here too:
Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
This is why when you question a manager about a decision the response is often a negative one - their focus is on keeping busy and moving forward to accomplish a task that someone else has assigned to them.   They don't want to deal with questions about why they are doing it.  The leader is the one who can stand back and say "no this is the wrong direction - going this way won't let us achieve our vision."  Leadership is so important because, as Covey writes:
 We are more in need of a vision or destination and a compass (a set of principles or directions) and less in need of a road map .... an inner compass will always give us direction.
Management is important, but, as Covey points out, efficient management without effective leadership is like "straightening deck chairs on the Titanic."  Leadership is vital because without it the managers are simply doing "busy work" and getting nowhere fast.

Photo Credit: mattyp_ via Compfight cc


  1. I agree, and what now? Signed: A manager

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    I have received a number of "odd" comments recently, some of which appear to be from people from my previous school, but all of which are anonymous. I am assuming this is a similar one, from someone in a management position there. I would like to request that you communicate in a open and professional way, use your name and contribute to the discussion positively and appropriately. I have a good idea who you are, since this typifies some of the face to face responses I had to deal with while I was working there. I have published this, where I didn't publish other similar comments, only because I wish to respond and put an end to what appears to me to be verging on the edge of harassment or cyberbullying and because this needs to stop. Thank you.