Leadership vs Management

What's the difference between leadership and management?

A leader by its meaning is one who goes first and leads by example (c.f., 1 Pet. 5:3; 1 Cor. 11:1), so that others are motivated to follow him. Is it a must that a leader leads by example? What if he is appointed to a large organization ... a very big organization? Is it realistic then to expect the leader to lead by example in all areas?

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter F. Drucker
In Exo 18:13-23, Jethro (Moses' father-in-law) observed that much of Moses' time was taken up in answering disputes and inquiries of people who sought (through Moses) to know God's will. Mind you, the number of Hebrews who left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea was 600,000 men, excluding children (Exo 12:37; Num 1:46) - this was no small organization!

Jethro advised Moses to continue teaching the people the laws of God (v 20) and to delegate "mediation" responsibility of minor disputes to spiritually and morally qualified men (v 21-23). Moses' responsibility was to handle the major disputes. Moses accepted Jethro's advice (v 24-26).

25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.

26 They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge.
Was Moses still leading by example? Yes, he was ... he was still responsible for mediating difficult disputes ... disputes that the appointed leaders could not handle. Major disputes handled by Moses were probably lesser in number compared to minor disputes. Moreover, by teaching the people the laws of God, there would be lesser disputes (major and minor) in the first place.

What's happening in Exo 18:13-23? Is it leadership in action or management in action? What's the difference (if any) between leadership and management?

A quality A science and an art
Has vision Has realistic expectations
Has to do with faith Has to do with fact
Seeks effectiveness - do the right thing Seeks efficiency - do things right
Provides direction Enforces control
Thrives on opportunity Lives for the job well done
Enables people Rules people
Heart in leadership Head in management
Source: Unknown

Management is an organizational process that includes planning, organizing, leading and controlling.
  1. Planning: Predetermining a course of action
  2. Organizing: Placing people into a structure to accomplish objectives
  3. Leading: Influencing people to take effective action in the implementation of the plan
  4. Controlling: Assuring that performance conforms to plan
Leadership is a function in the management process. It is unrealistic to expect the leader to lead by example in all areas in a large organization because he is unlikely to have the expertise or competency in all areas. Moreover, the tasks will be too big and heavy for him to bear alone; he needs to get things done through other people.

What happened in Exo 18:13-23 was organizing - (1) classify disputes into major and minor, (2) organize people into groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, (3) appoint group leaders and (4) delegate "mediation" responsibilities to them.

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Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © July 2007 by Alan S.L. Wong