Leadership vs. Management

Books on organizational success often focus on leadership. Others seem to focus solely on management. But effectively running an organization demands both leadership and management. They are closely aligned, but they are not interchangeable.

As the illustration shows, the leadership role includes setting the vision, and motivating and inspiring everyone working within the organization. A leader establishes opportunity by pointing the ship in the right direction and bringing on board the necessary personnel.

New nonprofits (and many successful startups) tend to be run by charismatic leaders who are good at raising money and positioning and evangelizing the value of the organization’s product or service.

Leadership, however, while essential, is not sufficient for success.

Every person running an organization, a program, or a team, must accept responsibility also for managing less-glamorous duties, such as the implementation of strategy through planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, problem-solving and follow-up.

And then there are shared responsibilities: both leaders and managers need to be effective communicators, decision-makers, and influencers.

An organization succeeds when leadership and management are strong and when they are balanced.

  • Does your organization have strong leadership balanced with strong management?
  • What could strengthen each role?