Leadership vs. Management

Leadership vs. Management

What is the difference between management and leadership? It is a question that has been asked more than once and also answered in different ways. The biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate the people who work or follow them, and this sets the tone for most other aspects of what they do.


Many people, by the way, are both. They have management jobs, but they realize that you cannot buy hearts, especially to follow them down a difficult path, and so act as leaders too.


Managers have subordinates

By definition, managers have subordinates – unless their title is honorary and given as a mark of seniority, in which case the title is a misnomer and their power over others is other than formal authority.


Authoritarian, transactional style

Managers have a position of authority vested in them by the company, and their subordinates work for them and largely do as they are told. Management style is transactional, in that the manager tells the subordinate what to do, and the subordinate does this not because they are a blind robot, but because they have been promised a reward (at minimum their salary) for doing so.


Work focus

Managers are paid to get things done (they are subordinates too), often within tight constraints of time and money. They thus naturally pass on this work focus to their subordinates.


Seek comfort

An interesting research finding about managers is that they tend to come from stable home backgrounds and led relatively normal and comfortable lives. This leads them to be relatively risk-averse and they will seek to avoid conflict where possible. In terms of people, they generally like to run a ‘happy ship’.


Leaders have followers

Leaders do not have subordinates – at least not when they are leading. Many organizational leaders do have subordinates, but only because they are also managers. But when they want to lead, they have to give up formal authoritarian control, because to lead is to have followers, and following is always a voluntary activity.


Charismatic, transformational style

Telling people what to do does not inspire them to follow you. You have to appeal to them, showing how following you will lead them to their hearts’ desire. They must want to follow you enough to stop what they are doing and perhaps walk into danger and situations that they would not normally consider risking.


Leaders with a stronger charisma find it easier to attract people to their cause. As a part of their persuasion they typically promise transformational benefits, such that their followers will not just receive extrinsic rewards but will somehow become better people.


People focus

Although many leaders have a charismatic style to some extent, this does not require a loud personality. They are always good with people, and quiet styles that give credit to others (and takes blame on themselves) are very effective at creating the loyalty that great leaders engender.


Although leaders are good with people, this does not mean they are friendly with them. In order to keep the mystique of leadership, they often retain a degree of separation and aloofness.


This does not mean that leaders do not pay attention to tasks – in fact they are often very achievement-focused. What they do realize, however, is the importance of enthusing others to work towards their vision.


Seek risk

In the same study that showed managers as risk-averse, leaders appeared as risk-seeking, although they are not blind thrill-seekers. When pursuing their vision, they consider it natural to encounter problems and hurdles that must be overcome along the way. They are thus comfortable with risk and will see routes that others avoid as potential opportunities for advantage and will happily break rules in order to get things done.


A surprising number of these leaders had some form of handicap in their lives which they had to overcome. Some had traumatic childhoods, some had problems such as dyslexia, others were shorter than average. This perhaps taught them the independence of mind that is needed to go out on a limb and not worry about what others are thinking about you.

Ever-Changing Business Environment

Successfully Lead in an Ever-Changing Business Environment

Equip yourself to successfully lead organizations through clarity of purpose and effective collaboration — by building and motivating teams; designing and delivering powerful stories; developing strategies to appropriately influence; understanding underlying customer analytics and applying innovative approaches to deliver impact.

How do aspiring managers succeed in an ever-changing business environment? How do they lead different groups to action? This specialization equips aspiring managers to lead change and leverage different roles and functions within for-profit institutions to create lasting value in the marketplace. Throughout the five courses, we will explore how great leaders assess themselves and lead collaborative teams that effectively manage negotiations and conflict. We will discover how leaders communicate through storytelling and employ other communication strategies to influence. Furthermore, we will learn how organizations start with the clarity of purpose that comes from an understanding of customers’ needs, including leveraging data analytics, and use that focus to drive the design of products and services to meet those needs effectively. At the end of the coursework, students will create a capstone project that allows them to apply what they have learned.

Revolutionary Democracy

Revolutionary Democracy

It’s heartwarming to have a trickle down version of an ideological debate on Aiga Forum, especially when it seriously concerns our beloved country—Ethiopia.  Civilly done, debates of the various kinds benefit a country such us ours to have a well-informed citizenry.  Well-informed citizenry in turn facilitates for a knowledge-based vote to adjudicate a democratic contest between acutely differing political parties.  The party that wins the heart, mind and interest of a well-informed citizenry in turn becomes the dependable bastion of a country that the well-informed citizenry calls home.  And this kind of democratic and knowledge nourishing process should be encouraged, for all the time to come and for the good of Ethiopia’s economic, political and social life.

Not all ideological debates are premised on substantive points of contentions.  Some ideological debates may tend to employ ad hominem—the kind that attack the person or the political party that’s making the argument.  Some debates go off on a tangent guided by conspiracy theory, to question the opponent’s motive instead of focusing on the argument being made.  And some debates on political ideology are simply out of touch, and there are even some more with many more defining characteristics.

Great ideological debates are born to be raised by those debaters or political parties who have done their homework thoroughly.  Many more qualities may be afforded to debaters, but for the purpose of this piece, great debaters are made from great readers, listeners, and those who tolerate ideological viewpoints completely contrary to theirs.  Tolerating viewpoints other than ours induces in us the positive capacity contrary to that which induces hate and resentment.  In other words, truthfully tolerating viewpoints other than ours brings sanity to our thinking and civility to the way how we argue against ideas that we think are utterly flawed.  Hate, resentment and a complete doubt in the sincerity of those who hold views other than ours inevitably kill the spirit of great debates even before its inception.

With this in mind, I welcome Kifleyesus’s scribbled debate on Aiga Forum, titled, “Bashing Liberalism: Can “Revolutionary Democracy” Be Democratic Without Espousing Liberalism?”  For the purpose of clarity, I find it imperative to quote Kifleyesus’s introductory statement and his core argument.  His introductory paragraph goes as follows:  “I have been following the recent debates in the run up to the 2010 elections in Ethiopia. It is sad to observe that most, if not all, opposition politicians seem to be unable to defend “liberalism” from the ideological attacks of EPRDF politicians. Their inability was most visible when Lidetu Ayalew, the usually witty and gifted orator, could not respond well to Bereket Simon’s characterization of the EDP’s (and other opposition parties’) views on liberalism as an invitation to western domination. What is even more saddening is that the EPRDF and its acolytes including one Adal Isaw attack liberalism as a recipe for disaster in the Ethiopian context”

Now let’s read Kifleyesus’s core argument, bearing in mind the content of his introductory paragraph, and, his core argument goes as follows: “The attack on liberalism is based on confusing two terms: liberalism and neo-liberalism. I do not think that the EPRDF or its supporters [are] unaware of the distinction between these two terms. Adal Isaw’s piece on Aigaforum.com clearly shows that he is aware of the historical and philosophical roots of liberalism as his references to Hobbes and Locke testify. The simple explanation of the confusion is thus that there is a deliberate attempt to befuddle the debate and push an agenda that the EPRDF is not comfortable to pursue publicly.”

Kifleyesus’s piece shows that he failed to do his homework thoroughly, since he never made the concerted effort to refute the major points that a revolutionary democrat raises to criticize liberalism.  He didn’t defend the excessive and superfluous individualism, which is being espoused by Ethiopian liberals in relation to the greater issue of economic and political development of Ethiopia.  In addition, his defense of liberalism might have benefited a bit more or less, had he read my article thoroughly between the lines.  Instead, what Kifleyesus did in his piece is to let his readers know, first and foremost, how saddening it was to hear and read EPRDF, Bereket Simon and the “acolyte” Adal Isaw bashing and attacking liberalism.  Kifleyesus didn’t even spare “…the usually witty and gifted orator…” Ato. Lidetu Ayalew, “…for his inability [to] respond well to Bereket Simon’s characterization of…liberalism…”