Friday, August 17, 2007

Leaders versus Managers

One of my managers just started a blog and posed the question: "Management versus Leadership, what's the difference?"

A quote from a graduation commencement given by Hugh W. Nibley in the 80's came to mind when I read this topic. He states,
"Leaders are movers and shakers, original, inventive, unpredictable, imaginative, full of surprises that discomfit the enemy in war and the main office in peace. For the managers are safe, conservative, predictable, conforming organization men and team players, dedicated to the establishment."
This statement puts the two positions on opposite ends of the spectrum.

I do believe that we need both types, and that a mix of these qualities are necessary. It can be quite easy to slip into solely managing and forgetting to lead. Leaders historically are those who rally for the rights of the people, who fight for equality. Managers are those who seek for power, perks, and promotion.

George Washington was a God-sent leader for the independence our country. After the revolutionary war, the people naturally wanted him to become the leader of the country. He did not seek after this position, but humbly accepted it, and only for a time. He could have gone on as President for more than two terms, but he recognized the dangers of creating a position of power that was not restrained by time and would have given fewer people the opportunity to lead.

In the end I think that leaders need managerial skills; but if that leadership turns into a desire to be over other people for the sake of holding a higher position, something needs to change.

(For the full text of Bro. Nibley's talk visit here.)

1 comment:

Aimee said...

I have always felt like I am a natural born leader. It seems like in all my different groups of friends, I am always the "leader." The one who people would ask if they could sit with "my" group of friends at lunch. I also stepped up to the leadership position in cross country as a junior. I wanted the team to be better and I knew we had to run in the summer so I organized practices and parties. My friend Sam, who is a very good follower, told me that I should back off and let the seniors do all the things I was taking over. But the seniors weren't doing it. I was made captain and then when one coach left I even sort of became like an assistant coach. In seminary I was called to be my class president. I told my friend Jared that I loved being president. He told me that I was power hungry and that I would soon enough be corrupt with all my captainsies (I don't think that's a word) and other leadership positions. I am now the 2nd counselor in Seminary Council and I really don't think I am corrupt (yet) (totally kidding). It's not that I crave power, it's that it just falls into my hands, or someone else dropped it and I pick it up. For me, the difference between a leader and a "manager" is that a manager serves OVER a group of people and leader serves UNDER a group of people, then lifts them up. I think there are natural leaderse and natural managers, and yes, the world needs both. (I hope I don't come off as cocky by saying that I'm a leader). So, those are my thoughts on that.