Management vs. Leadership

We don't need to manage the present but we should lead the future.

Portrait of Marco Rinaldi Marco Rinaldi Ciudad de México

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Managers, as members of an organization answer to a number of guidelines, operation manuals and codes of conduct imposed by what the company represents, they have a «manual for natural disasters» with protocols to solve them. The issue with managers is that they are trained to solve problems that already have a solution. What happens when a problem isn't in the manual? It's easy, they just fail.

The main objective of a manager is to earn more money on the least time possible, with an efficient use of available resources, while a leaderʼs mission is to generate more value for as many people as possible. Leadership is not an innate ability, it is not a spontaneous reaction, neither does a recipe exists to become a leader. A leader is not made by a simple mix of confidence, power of speech and conviction. Leadership must be developed, encouraged and promoted.

But why do we tend to be managers instead of leaders? Since childhood we've been teached to avoid risks, to fit in, to pursue a model that had guaranteed stability and security. But... surprise! Global economy has changed and we are no longer guaranteed a future as it used to happen on the 50's. Our education from the very beginning has been moving towards becoming managers.

Probably most of us had received allowance from parents when we were kids. This only fostered us to feel comfortable receiving a determined quantity of money every week or month. Then this allowance became a salary, but instead of our parents it came from our employers, giving us financial “security”, introducing us in a spiral of repetitive work for a repetitive payment.

What would happen if instead of giving an allowance to our kids we gave them the opportunity to find problems, projects and jobs for which they will get remunerated? Their capability of reasoning, creativity and problem solving will be encouraged and in the long term, they will feel stimulated to become leaders instead of managers.

Another example on how our current education distances us from leadership is school. When we are having a problem with a specific subject, what do we do? We search for a tutor to teach you to improve in what we are bad at. But, why don't we get a tutor for what we like, for what we are passionate about? Instead encouraging us to follow our dreams, the system forces us to be as everyone. It is best considered to have 100 average people than one unique individual.

This does not lack logic, all we needed were managers. The companies needed trained peoples to do technical work to keep the production line working. The problem nowadays is that we already have enough serial production companies. Globalization and technological development turned people on replaceable and disposable pieces.

For the first time, it is expected that everyone at an organization, and not only the boss, will be a leader. The market is awarding organizations and individuals that change things, create unique products and services.

Seth Godin1

The future is unknown and there are not manuals or rules for it. On the future, thanks to the internet and knowledge democratization, we will have the opportunity to become leaders on what we are passionate at. Anyone can be a leader: a carpenter, a teacher, a doctor, a musician, even an accountant. You don't need to the boss to lead, it is not necessary to have people under your command, you only need a good idea which will encourage people to follow. Thus and only thus we'll be able to create value for everyone surrounding you.

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  1. Tribes (2009). Seth Godin
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Marco Rinaldi

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