Leadership Versus Management

The table below contains key distinctions between

high-performance leadership versus management

If you want to be known as the 'rockstars' of your industry the leadership versus management debate is one you want to study.

Life is rapidly changing and so too the way you influence people must be able to shift rapidly to meet the new requirements.

To get a sense of how much change is in store for us, consider how different life was in 1982, only a few decades ago. 

Reagan was President in the US. The Berlin Wall was still up, and the Cold War was still waging. The Falklands War was being fought.

Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes were singing "Up there Where We Belong",  while Michael Jackson released Thriller. It was the start of a worldwide recession. Prince William was born. The Commonwealth Games were held in Brisbane. Tootsie & Ghandi were on at the movies. M.A.S.H was still on t.v. We'd never heard of test-tube babies or Friends, the Internet or iPads!

The El Nino of 1982 was the most severe in the 20th century. The Sydney Harbor Bridge celebrated its 50th birthday by allowing 500,000 people to walk across her. The Twin Towers stood tall on the New York skyline.

And, at work ...

  • There were no  faxes, email or cell phones
  • Rotary phones, telex machines and typewriters were commonplace
  • If people had computers at all, they were dumb terminals
  • Semiconductors, cable TV, and the Internet were not major industries
  • "Made in Japan" was beginning to mean quality, not junk
  • Many of what are now the world's largest markets were closed to outside trade

So, what do the next 10, 15, 20 years old?

One thing is for sure the way you are managing and leading today is going to be different. Unquestionably, if you don't keep up you will be left behind - or worse yet become extinct like the typewriter!

Today leaders are expected to:

  • Produce more with less
  • Increase profits/minimize costs
  • Make sharper/better/quicker decisions
  • Respond effectively to the needs of your people
  • Manage multiple projects
  • Be available 24/7 ... enslaved to your electronic media
  • Compete with artificial intelligence!

To do this and more, you may need to make some shifts. The table below lists some key distinctions between leadership versus management. Pick one or two and focus on improving your skills in that area.

For example, many leaders, when they first come into coaching with me, are running on crisis problem-solving and very caught up in the day-to-day.

Through coaching, they get better at being problem anticipators and solutions finders. They are able to shift their focus to being more strategic about where they are leading their business unit too. Changing their focus has seen many of these leaders get promotions, and all of them feeling like they are more in control of their work life.

Key distinctions: leadership versus management


Old Way = Low Performance


New Way = High Performance


Maintaining status quo

Leading the charge for continuous improvement

A business focused on current conditions 


A business designed for the long-term

Dumping change on people

Like it or lump it 


Together we can make this transition easier and quicker

Tolerating low performance

I don't want the hassle of dealing with you 


The better leader I am the better you will be

One Management Style fits all

Flexible leadership style 

My way or the highway

How can I inspire you to your best?

Avoiding staff problems

On-time feedback about performance

Maybe it will go away

Every player in this game is important

Patronizing, Critical, Gossiping

I am your judge 

We have regular face-to-face coaching

Solving problems - but often in crisis state

Anticipating Problems

Busy, busy, busy

Strategically working on the business

Focussing on weaknesses

You have to fit your job 

Which roles/tasks here best use your talents

Asking a person to improve/change

Seeing the greatness in a person and asking them to step up to their potential

You aren't good enough 

There is so much more to you

Providing reasons, seeking debate and input, responding to feedback

"I'm watching you"

"Do you have all the resources you need?"

Distrusting Boss resulting in 'employee mindset'

Trusted Leader inspiring 'business partner' mindset

"It's your job, so get on with it"

"Tell me how I can help you succeed"

Source of recognition and approval

Source of endorsement and challenge

People needing your approval 

People seeing you as the person who creates opportunities for them to grow

Fear based environment

Safe, love based environment

"I can't, in case I get in trouble" 

"Let's give it a try and see what we learn"

Creating push environment

Creating a pull environment

Employees avoiding responsibility 

Employees feel confident to seek responsibility

Focusing on the past

Perfecting the present

Focused on fear 

Focusing on what we can do right now

Working in the business

Working on the business

Focused on today

Focused on today and perfecting the future

Reacting to senior management

I have little/no control 

I can influence our future

Giving in to failure, disappointment

Resiliently creating new opportunities, where none seem to exist



Pretending to care about people

Deeply caring about people



Manage by rules

Decisions made on history 

Decisions made on the situation at hand

Motivate through competition

Motivate through co-operation

Struggling against

Working together

Content with static skills

Creates the space for personal growth and development


Enriching Learning Organization

Focus on short-term results

Focus on immediate and big picture

Keeping head above water 

Strategically set for the future

Systems that create people who know how to perform tasks

Creating systems that enable people to handle information and knowledge

I'm doing my job 

I am a business partner

Wanting people to rely on you for answers

Expecting people to be their own solution centre

Ego-centered Manager 

High Performance Leader

Doing it by yourself

Understanding the importance of having someone coach you to a higher level of performance

Same results 

Continuous self-growth and improvement

Leadership versus management - which is your pathway to success?

If you genuinely want to be a high-performance relevant leader, in this volatile and rapidly changing world then start putting yourself at the leading edge. Become a member of the 'Make A Dent Club' where you get access to the resources you need to be at your best and bring out the best in others. Join today.

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