I must confess I have always been, I suspect one of the very few, uncomfortable with the distinction leader-manager. It has obvious historical reasons, it’s well intended, and it comes with the seal of approval of Big Management Gurus. But, is it a real dichotomy? One to be sustained today?
Anybody who has been in management and leadership positions in the last 20 years, and not in a Long Sabbatical, as some management gurus seem to have been, will understand that (1) any leader also manages lots of things and (2) any manager is also leading something. There is no such a thing as the Only Leader and Only Manager. Even the Supreme Leader, the CEO, is always managing lots of things. His secretaries, for start. (I am writing this in plural just prompted by a surreal, but real, example of a Regional company, which will remain unnamed, where the CEO has seven secretaries (seven). Of course a magic number for somebody who may be very busy and perhaps in seven alternative worlds, I suppose).
Leaders-Managers: how much do we gain by insisting in the difference? And how much do we loose? Well, on the later, we ascribe a secondary role to management: they all have an accountant within, no imagination (no need for it), great bean counting skills and , for sure, they won’t rock the boat. Alas, leaders have a vision, see the future, have imagination and pull out thousands of people.
Really? If you really believe in this binary distinction in the world of business, today in 2015, please do share the planet you’ve been in, in case I fancy a holiday.
I suggest that the label ‘leader-manager’ has zero interest in 2015. We should switch our attention to the unresolved mystery of the verbs: leading and managing. If there is a distinction it is in the verb. Very different from the permanent allocation to people of the label leader-manager.
Leadership? Yes. Management? Yes. Two different individuals full time on each? Not in 2015, thank you.
Leadership development as a higher level, elite, endeavour? Management Development as lower level, prosaic, and mechanistic layer? Let me be the bearer of bad news: this emperor has no clothes in 2015. Try harder.