alexander-the-great on hroseback

Leadership is showing the way. I have a favorite picture of leadership that of a grand general on horseback pointing his sword to the way and followed by myriads of faithful.

A leader however before mounting his horse and charge for the way, must do a significant share of preparatory work like:

  • Identify goals
  • Assess the current state of things
  • Produce a directional plan on how to reach the desirable goal
  • Strategize, select the fights, when, where and how to fight
  • Know his side’s strengths and weakness
  • Study his opponents, enemies or competitors
  • Identify problem-free paths
  • Identify any remaining possible problems in his selected path
  • Communicate to transmit the plan and to build/raise troop morale
  • Create eager followers that are ready to do their utmost for him

A leader will always opt for persuasion rather than coercion.

Managing is walking the way and covers duties like:

  • Extract from the directional plan that part which is pertinent to a manager’s responsibilities and work on it to make it applicable for the resources available and executable by his people
  • Devise programs and projects to reach goals
  • Organize, divide work, and structure his people, assign duties to them, design necessary systems to provide cohesion and unity
  • Delegate responsibility down the line
  • Divide and allocate resources to achieve implementation of the plan
  • Recruit and fire people
  • Design rewards and incentives
  • Establish feedback mechanisms
  • Communicate upwards and downwards

A good manager will always strive to think and act as a leader on top of his other duties.

Both the above lists are not meant to be exhaustive but rather indicative of what each position involves.

Though on a leader much depends, the success of the endeavor also largely rests on how things are executed, that work which is the province of the manager.

In importance neither leadership nor management has a higher place as neither can exist meaningfully without the other. Together however hold much of the success of any big enterprise and when in faultless cooperation they become a winning differentiator.