Live it - Lead IT

Live it - Lead IT

002 Management vs. Leadership

January 09, 2020

So today we are talking about something that we touched on in a few of our earlier podcasts. The difference between leadership and management. The difference between being a leader and being a manager. So it’s let’s discuss management first, because leadership is very rare! I have compared management and leadership in the German podcast, I called them Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street!

"Management is making sure that the organization does everything tomorrow exactly the same way as today. Only a little bit better"

Management and leadership connected differently. Here is my definition of management; Management is making sure that the organization does tomorrow exactly the same as they do it today. Managers do the things that they did yesterday. Even if they improve and make things a little bit better, it is only optimized about 5%. Managers make sure everything performs, but they don’t go crazy with this. Management is focused on trying to avoid mistakes. Repetition is the keyword for management.  Now we will have the definition of leadership.Steve Jobs is a prime example of leadership bordering on craziness. They go hand in hand! Imagine a big room with engineering gurus are there, all very upright and analytical. Steve Jobs comes in with his black sweater and challenges them to invent a new computer the size of small stack of A4 paper! Remember computers back in those days were these big noisy machines and changing the graphics card was a rush in itself. Steve Jobs further challenges the engineers to design the computer with a touchscreen and wants to see the first prototype in eight weeks! This is leadership. So leadership looks in my definition into the future. Leadership is disruption. Leadership is mistakes. Leadership is trying new things! Leadership shakes the foundations of what we have, this is the way the organization survives. Management looks into the past. Leadership looks to the future. So we have several people who are good in the one and good in the other. Management is easy because management gives stability. So this is the biggest enemy of success in the future? This is a success of the past.

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"Leadership is disruption. Leadership is making mistakes. Leadership is trying new things!"

This is the reason why, especially in Europe, you can mostly see management. We were so successful since the Second World War. This is where management took over. This is where leadership is missing. When we do the same things that we’ve done yesterday, it’s safe. You need to have both. Leadership sounds good, but you can destroy a company with innovation. Once the innovation is there, you must have a captain who knows to run this ship. And this is my main critique in industry in Europe.