What is the difference between management and leadership?

Question: What is the difference between management and leadership?

Tom Stewart: I don’t.  I mean there is …  There is a common differentiation that, you know, leadership is the
… is the “why” and the “where”, and management is the “how” and is sort of a lower … a lower arc.  But I actually think it’s a distinction without a difference.  In an important kind of way, I think there is an element that, you know, bosses – senior people – have that is a leadership element.  And we’ve gotta decide where we’re gonna go and what this is all about.  And we’ve gotta try to make meaning and make sense of things in sort of an inspirational role.  That role doesn’t necessarily have to be held by somebody who’s the chief person in the hierarchy, too.  The leader … there’s … that leadership role can be taken by anybody at any time.  So there is that part of being a leader, but there’s also the …  When I think of …  In this leadership/management distinction, management becomes a lesser art.  You know it’s “leadership is poetry and management is prose.”  I … I think there’s a lot of poetry in the prose.  When I think about it – and this is something that I’ve only come to recently but it motivates me strongly – is this idea that you spend … we spend … people who work in organizations spend … at least a third of their waking hours at work.  They get most of their training and education after school – after they leave school – happens at work.  They, you know, their relationship to their workplace is the most important workplace … relationship that they have except for that to their families.  And in some cases it’s more important.  So there’s a moral dimension to this.  The decisions that managers make about whom to promote or whom not to promote, or the decisions the – the seemingly little decisions managers make about how to … whether to treat people rudely or kindly are … are decision with kind of large moral consequences for the … for themselves and for the individuals around them.  And so I …  I really think it’s a false distinction.  I think that … that … that in this prose of management, there is some pretty important stuff.

Recorded on: 6/22/07   

Tom Stewart says there is poetry in both management and leadership.

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
Keep reading Show less

​'The time is now' for cryptocurrencies, PayPal CEO says

Is Bitcoin akin to 'digital gold'?

Technology & Innovation
  • In October, PayPal announced that it would begin allowing users to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.
  • Other major fintech companies—Square, Fidelity, SoFi—have also recently begun investing heavily in cryptocurrencies.
  • While prices are volatile, many investors believe cryptocurrencies are a relatively safe bet because blockchain technology will prove itself over the long term.
Keep reading Show less

"Clean meat" approved for sale in Singapore

Singapore has approved the sale of a lab-grown meat product in an effort to secure its food supplies against disease and climate change.

Credit: Adobe Stock / Big Think
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Singapore has become the first country to approve the sale of a lab-grown meat product.
  • Eat Just, the company behind the product, will have a small-scale commercial launch of its chicken bites.
  • So-called "clean meats" may reduce our reliance on livestock farming, which kills billions of animals worldwide every year.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Astrophysicists: Gamma-ray jets exceed the speed of light

    Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.

    Credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab (used with permission by Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is co-managed by Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Tech).
    Surprising Science
    • Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
    • The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
    • The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
    Keep reading Show less

    Study suggests most "dark web" users are not engaging in illicit activities

    A new study finds that some people just want privacy.

    Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels
    Technology & Innovation
    • Despite its reputation as a tool for criminals, only a small percentage of Tor users were actually going to the dark web.
    • The rate was higher in free countries and lower in countries with censored internet access.
    • The findings are controversial, and may be limited by their methodology to be general assumptions.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast