What is the difference between leadership and management? My perspective comes from 24 years in a military uniform, most of it as a US Navy pilot, plus an additional 16 years working in academia, international organizations, and commercial companies.
For me, leadership is personal and involves “emotional labor” as Seth Godin would put it. Management is about organization, policies, procedures, process improvement, Lean Six Sigma, etc. Great management will develop a smoothly-running, efficient, effective organization. Great leadership is required to make that organization remarkable.
Many, perhaps most, CEOs are not great leaders. They might be exceptional managers, but they lack the willingness to take personal risks or the honest ability to motivate their employees to use their creativity at work. Leadership can be learned, but some of it comes from experience “on the deckplates.”
Let me give an example. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a business owner about responding to customer feedback and reviews, in the context of setting up business processes to ask for feedback online and to respond to any reviews received. By my definitions, we were talking about management changes to the business. However, I mentioned that the business already had a very complimentary review online that praised an employee by name. I suggested that this employee be singled out for special recognition. This business owner has an MBA from an Ivy League school, and she immediately started to process my suggestion in management terms by talking about documenting new policies and procedures to cover the event of “employee praised in a review.” I asked her to shift her thinking and just drive over to the local florist, purchase a bouquet of flowers, go back to the office, call the staff together, and thank that employee for going the extra mile for that client and the company. The business owner told me she wouldn’t have thought of that — it’s personal and it’s leadership and it’s not included in the world-class management education she’s received. I’ll guarantee that if the business owner follows my suggestion, that employee will be more motivated to excel and most of her other employees will be similarly motivated and refocused.
In order to build a remarkable, word-of-mouth-worthy organization, you have to invest some leadership to motivate your employees and your customers. Need some help getting started? Rust Reviews would be happy to assist.