How best does the rubber hit the road…..management or leadership?

Posted on 10. May, 2013 by in Balance, Leadership

It would have been easy if it was either or that makes the world go round. Alas, it is a bit of both.

The following analogy has served me well to describe the difference and synergy between management and leadership.

Management to me is like a rear wheel drive car. Rear wheel drive pushes the car forward. It is where the payload is and gives you that “grunt” you need to get and keep moving…a real work horse. Good for heavy loads, uphill and firm roads.

Leadership to me is a front wheel drive car. It pulls the car forward in a certain direction. This is where the engine and steering wheel is. Good for slippery roads or when it’s soft under foot and you need a dash of speed.

To be successful however, you need a bit of both. You need a 4×4 to get the best traction, torque, speed, direction and control – under all conditions. Management will not last without leadership and leadership needs management to deliver.

The ultimate however is an all wheel drive AWD, preferably with automatic traction control. All situations are different, teams are different, jobs and projects are different and one needs a different mix of rear wheel and front wheel drive. The amount of traction, rear or front, will depend on the conditions, the road, the direction and so much more. It does NOT depend on what suits the vehicle, so you need to constantly adapt to the external situation and conditions. Much like Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership model.

It is all in the balancing of management and leadership.

Good luck in finding the correct balance in each of your roles, personal, community and professional.

Sharing stories, Deon