Resourced Leaders

'Resourced Leaders' is a premier Australian based Leadership Performance organisation that specialises in working with senior executives, leaders and high performing individuals who aspire to greater levels of personal leadership and success.

Are you a leader or a manager?

Posted by Phil Owens
Phil Owens
Philip is one of Australia’s leading performance and leadership specialists. He
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 21 February 2013 in Leadership

I am finding that when I raise this question with clients and in presentations to groups, everyone 'wants' to be leader rather than a manager (what' does it sound 'sexier?').  People have difficulty understanding the difference, and why it is so important to an organisation to have both leaders and managers.

'Leadership' can be a fuzzy concept.  What really is leadership, and how does it relate to management, or even to performance?  What, then, is management?

An easy way to think about management and leadership is to consider how they impact upon company process.  An organisation establishes processes to simplify, standardise and quantify tasks.  Every organisation has processes.  Some have them written up in big, thick, manuals; and others are just 'remembered ways of doing business'.  Process is important because people don't have to relearn, or reinvent, the task steps to complete repeated jobs.

On this basis, we can consider MANAGEMENT the function of ensuring that process is followed effectively and efficiently.  This involves ensuring that the people who are following the process have the capability, skills, knowledge and resources to complete the tasks as prescribed.  This function is to minimise deviation from process and ensure highest level of effectiveness and efficiency.

On the other hand, leadership is somewhat different.  A leader is continuously testing process to see what can be changed, enhanced, added or removed.  This is a critical function, because no business remains in a stable environment.  Everything changes - markets, prices, competition, regulations, etc, etc.

Following processes when they no longer serve the organisation leads to a decrease in effectiveness and efficiency.  It is up to leaders to see the process in the context of the environment, explore options and change process as required to ensure maximum efficacy and efficiency continues for the organisation.

In truth, most senior positions entail a mix of both.  Rarely have I met a person who was only a 'leader', or only a 'manager'.  Real world workplaces require more senior individuals to strike a balance between the two.

So - are you a leader or a manager...or a bit of both?

What specific skills do you think are required for both functions?

Do you agree with this frame for defining the two functions?

Stay resourceful!


Philip is one of Australia’s leading performance and leadership specialists. He honed his skills working with executives and leaders around the world, coaching and consulting in over 30 countries, from entrepreneurial start-ups to boards of multi-billion dollar businesses.


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