Control or inspiration


Leadership vs Management: Does the Difference Matter?

John Kotter, a New York Times best-selling author and Harvard Professor, provides us the following observation on the nature of management and leadership.

‘Management is about coping with complexity; it brings order and predictability to a situation. But that’s no longer enough — to succeed, companies must be able to adapt to change. Leadership, then, is about learning how to cope with rapid change.’ – John Kotter, ‘What Leaders Really Do’, Harvard Business Review (May/June 1990).

Management is about dealing with complexity, it’s about bringing order and predictability to an enterprise. Leadership is about dealing with change. The greater the change the greater the need for leadership. …

Leaders places emphasis on people, whilst management is about control and predictable results. Managers take a more rational approach, leaders stir the passions and emotions of people.

‘Leaders work on the culture of the organization, creating it or changing it. Managers work within the culture of the organization.’ – Edgar H. Shein, ‘Organizational Culture’  in J. Thomas Wren, ed. The Leader’s Companion.

Managers rely on rational, intellect and control to organize people and resources towards an outcome. Management is about controlling the work that other people do.

Leaders take a different approach, where managers seek to limit choices and to control outcomes, leaders seek to develop fresh approaches and new ways of thinking about opportunities. They get things done through influence, collaboration and inspiration.”


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