“Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.” John Kotter
Companies manage complexity by first planning and budgeting, then organizing and staffing, and then controlling and problem solving.
Companies lead by setting a direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring.
Kotter says that leadership is really creating a vision of something that could be mundane, but truly serves the needs of its customers and clients. Aligning people truly empowers them to step into their role and contribute in a way that moves the organization forward. Successfully motivating ensures that employees will have the energy to overcome obstacles. It is motivating through satisfying basic human needs of achievement, belonging, recognition, self-esteem, control over one’s life and an ability to live up to one’s ideals.
Management on the other hand is truly taking complex issues and making them more effective, efficient, and productive.
I agree with Kotter that leadership is more visionary and inspiring to bring people along with the strategic plan they have. It takes the ability to take risks, serve clients in a way in which they are not currently served. It is inspiring and open minded and willing to motivate others by working on those aspects that engage employees to want to work through obstacles and not just require it of them. It takes courage to be a leader. It takes authenticity and it takes inspiration - in your own vision and in encouraging others to work towards that vision as well.
Are you a leader or a manager? If you want to be a leader what is your vision to get there? How can you begin to take the steps to become a leader and how can you inspire others to follow your lead?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.