Leadership and Management
Although there are many competing ideas about what is involved in effective leadership, one useful definition is that leadership is about setting an overall direction (often called a vision, strategy or goal) and then influencing others to follow that particular direction.
The implications of this definition are that leaders need to be able to encourage a team or group of people towards pursuing a common or shared goal. To do this well, the major skill that a leader therefore needs most is the ability to influence people in positive ways. This influence is needed to both spell out where the team needs to be in the future (often entailing a change in current practices and behavior) and in order to manage the whole plan execution process.
Some individuals see these two terms of “leadership” and “management” as synonyms and frequently use them interchangeably when discussing the subject. Other people however view them as very different activities and even opposites with little overlap between them. Still other people occupy a sort of “middle-ground” and take the view that while there is a difference between leadership and management, perhaps there are times when they can and do overlap and that we often need both of them to co-exist in different situations.
The Harvard University professor John Kotter suggests that management is about coping with detail and complexity (or what is real right now), and leadership, in contrast, is about coping with change (or what is coming in the near or far term). Hence, management produces a degree of predictability and order while leadership produces adaptation and change. For Kotter most organizations are under-led and over-managed. He therefore sees both strong leadership and strong management as necessary for optimal organizational effectiveness.
The Leadership Pocketbook provides a much more detailed overview of the leadership issues described above and also explains how to inspire, influence, deal with change and achieve objectives. The Pocketbook adopts a practical approach, setting out the principles of leadership, the role of the leader, the skills and different styles required for effective leadership and the key challenges facing leaders in today’s business environment.