Management vs Leadership

Manage up. Lead out and down.

You ARE A Manager

If you work FOR anyone, in any context, you’re a manager. You mange your boss’ expectations of when you will have something completed. You manage your customer’s expectations of what the software will look and behave like, how it will perform, and when it will be ready for testing. You manage your own time and resources to make sure that you can get things done, prioritizing based on many factors (often external factors and influence). The point is – you ARE a manager. Period. All of you. End of discussion.

You SHOULD BE A Leader

If you work WITH anyone, in any context, you should be a leader. You should never manage those you work with or those that report to you in any capacity. You should lead them by enabling them and empowering them to get their job done. You don’t manage your peers – you lead them. You influence them by showing them new and better ways of working, discussing the pros and cons and coming to conclusions that benefit everyone involved. You lead your subordinates the same way, but with the option of overriding decisions for business and/or quality and technical reasons. You lead your subordinates by blocking the stupid and detrimental from them. You lead your subordinates by letting them get their job done while you head off the office politics.

Manager And/Or Leader?

Are you a manager? Yes. Are you a leader? You should be.

About Derick Bailey

Derick Bailey is an entrepreneur, problem solver (and creator? :P ), software developer, screecaster, writer, blogger, speaker and technology leader in central Texas (north of Austin). He runs - the amazingly awesome podcast audio hosting service that everyone should be using, and where he throws down the JavaScript gauntlets to get you up to speed. He has been a professional software developer since the late 90's, and has been writing code since the late 80's. Find me on twitter: @derickbailey, @mutedsolutions, @backbonejsclass Find me on the web: SignalLeaf, WatchMeCode, Kendo UI blog, MarionetteJS, My Github profile, On Google+.
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  • “you should never manage those you work with or those that report to you in any capacity”

    I’m going to have to call BS on this, it’s either a position of naivete or an extremely oversimplified motivational speech. The simple fact is there are mechanics to management that need to happen. Perhaps you’ve been lucky thus far, but there are aspects of managing direct reports beyond the “leadership” you describe (which I agree is part of a manager’s job) and not everyone responds well to that form of leadership.

    Also, keep in mind, not everyone is cut from the cloth of leadership. And that’s a good thing. I’d hesitate to tell *everyone* they should be a leader.

  • @scott,

    it’s definitely the “extremely oversimplified motivational speech”

  • Not sure what’s going on but Gabriel N. Schenker’s posts (excellent by the way) aren’t appearing in google reader for me. Looking at the raw feed myself they seem to be there but google don’t seem to be picking them up. I’ve even tried unsubscribing and resubscribing from the main feed just in case.

    Thought you might want to know.

  • @Garry,

    i forwarded your issue to the guys that keep this place running. hopefully we’ll have this fixed soon.

  • Stephen Covey would be proud.

    One thing to remember is that some of the best leaders have no formal authority, they have moral authority.