John Kotter had a great post about management and leadership on his Harvard Business Review blog (http://blogs.hbr.org/kotter/ ). He says people often use the words interchangeably, which means they probably don’t understand the crucial difference between the two terms.
Management is, in fact, a set of well-known processes like planning, organizing, delegating, coordinating and controlling which enables organizations to predictably do what it knows how to do, and do it well. Good management enables nonprofits to keep the flow of funds coming in from donors while delivering the right mix of high quality services to the people who most need those services. In most nonprofits, this is an enormously difficult and complex task to do well, week after week, year after year. So good management is crucial…..but it is not leadership.
Leadership is different. It is about taking an organization to a different place, transforming it to take advantage of new opportunities and maneuvering around barriers that might otherwise block its ability to serve. It is about vision, getting people to buy in, empowerment them and producing meaningful change. Leadership is not about attributes, it is about behavior. It is not as much about the CEO as it is about encouraging people in the organization to lead. In this world that keeps moving faster, we need more leaders to enable our nonprofits keep pace with the rest of the world.
And of course, we also need good management to enable us to keep doingl the good things we are currently doing as well as we know how.