What is the difference between “leadership” and “management”?

Many books have been written on the topic, but one of the greatest contributors to the debate has to be Ella Fitzgerald! I don’t remember her writing a book, but there is a song… 

“When I was a kid about half past three Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie 12
My Ma said “Daughter, come here to me”
Said things may come, and things may go
But this is one thing you ought to know…
Oh ‘t ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it
… That’s what gets results”

Peter Drucker, probably the foremost business guru, said “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.”

Ella gets that. She keeps an unrelenting focus on “getting results.”

But she also frequently underscores the point out that it is not just a matter of effort, but ensuring the right sort of effort …”it’s the way you do it” that is what is most important.

Peter Drucker was quick to pick on this point when he said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Of course Drucker then went on to say: “Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.”

But again Ella eclipses him with the more memorable and poetical refrain:

“But remember if you’re tryin’ too hard
It don’t mean a thing. Take it easy…..
T ain’t what you bring it’s the way that you bring it
‘T ain’t what you swing it’s the way that you swing it
‘T ain’t what you sing, it’s the way that you sing it
That’s what gets results”

Peter Drucker succinctly crystallizes the essentials of leadership and the differentiators from management. Ella Fitzgerald just brings another dimension. As you try to orchestrate others and bring others with you, to get others swinging and singing along with you, it is worth remembering:

this is one thing you ought to know…
Oh ‘t ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it
… That’s what gets results!”

John Greenway

The Leaders’ Map book was launched on January 23rd 2014 and is now available on Amazon Kindle


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