Where do you stand in the ‘Manager = Good / Leader = Bad’ debate? Or is it ‘Leader Good / Manager Bad?’

Is the stuff that gets pushed, especially in social media, a help or a hindrance? Especially to first time, first line managers?

And, to what extent does this divide risk businesses being over-leadered and under-managed by enthusiastic, first time bosses anxious to be doing the right thing?

You know the stuff I mean, if not you can see a random sample towards the end of this post.

The ruthless reality of driving value through people and the work they do within a business has never lent itself to simplistic stuff. Yet, even Gurus and Celebs put their name to some questionable commentary.

Take this from Tony Robbins on Linkedin on 4 November as only one small example:

‘Management is focusing on getting someone to get a result. Leadership is producing a standard in someone that when you’re gone, they will live by to produce higher level results consistently.’

Isn’t that just ‘Good bosses deliver results whilst developing their people’?

Disclosure: I am a big fan of Tony’s. Both my sons did the full UPW, including the firewalk before their mid-teens and I have taken loads of people to his live events and his books.

You might have seen the McKinsey report on Decoding Leadership. If not I suggest you take a look at it. It is a good report and you will see that they say that Four kinds of behaviour account for 89% of leadership effectiveness.

I have the privilege of working with hundreds of bosses and bossees and when I ask people ‘What attitudes and behaviours make for a good boss?’ I get a remarkably similar list, without the prompt and prejudice of Leader / Manager tags.

Just reflect for a moment on someone you know, admire and respect for the way they deliver business results through their people. Ignore gurus and Celebs, unless you have worked closely with them, keep it real and relevant to you.
Were they a leader or a manager or were they really just a great Boss?

Look, I get the difference between ‘leadership’ and ‘Management’ attitudes, skills and behaviours. Heck, I make my living with this stuff. What I don’t buy is the false separation of the Leader from the Manager and the ridiculous ranking of one above the other.

Here are just a few examples of recent posts that have prompted this one from me. I’m happy to acknowledge and credit the creators if they make themselves known to me.

What do you think?

talk to manager leader


difference between boss and leader