Have you heard of many great managers of the past? Probably much less than about great leaders. That is why “to manage” and “to lead” are two distinguishing roles. They are both needed in society and organizations.
The verb “to lead” has a great history down to the philosophical writings from Plato’s Republic to Plutarch’s Lives in which he explored the question “What qualities distinguish an individual as a leader?” In one of my previous posts “China’s history and culture impacting Leadership – 1”(and following ) I’ve written about the Far East’ perception on leadership. And what internet has to say about the verb “to lead”?
- To show the way to by going in advance
- To go first as a guide.
- To direct on a course or in a direction
- To guide someone or something along a way.
- To go before or with to show the way; conduct or escort: to lead a group on a cross-country hike
- To take the initiative; begin.
In previous post (To manage people) I said that we all know that in each company we have “C” level that we mostly name “management”. Another function is sometimes wrongly attributed to management – “to lead”. Leadership has been described by Martin Chemersas as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. Peter Drucker said “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
Therefore, an effective leadership is one of the most important roles that contribute to overall organizational success. It is rare and mostly overlooked as leaders do not bring immediate results but rather have a long term view. They are good in innovating and creating originals. Leaders are not the ones that blindly follow the organizational rules – they develop new and challenge changes. A leader does not control but motivates his followers as he is normally in possession of incredible social intelligence
. A great leader has a vision that allows him to set his sights on the ‘things’ that truly merit attention in organization, market, environment and society.
Some people may name all this attributes “a charisma”. But, in my post “Leadership and Charisma
” I claimed that “it is not about charisma but rather what kind of personality a good leader has.” Leadership is not unique only to the top of organizational pyramid. No, it can be on all levels. And this is the biggest distinguishing difference that I consider when separating a management from a leadership.