Leadership and Management Consulting

“Manage from the left, lead from the right”

  • Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

In junior college my business teacher once gave her definition and distinction of being effective and efficient.  Paraphrasing her words, effectiveness is doing the right things, efficient is doing things right.  In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey stated the words of Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things” (Covey, 1989).  After several years of pondering the words of Covey and my JC professor, I come to understand that Leadership is being effective; Management is being efficient.  While Leadership and Management seem to be similar, there are distinct differences.  Management is about efficiency and organization, leadership is making sure efficiency is effectively aimed toward the correct goals and objectives.  A person can be very efficient yet not effective.  There are many examples in business where someone can be efficient at their tasks doing things correctly and being well organized, yet those tasks are not effective in reaching the organizational goals and objectives.  In contrast, one can have great ideas that are effective in aiming towards the correct goals and objectives, yet poorly executed ideas or concepts is equally as tragic.

Leadership requires creative “right brain” ideas and sometimes revisiting personal and organizational goals and values.  In many cases, leadership will also have to keep in mind the organizational culture as the foundation of its values as well as the culture and values of its customers.  When working with teams, it is also important to understand the team’s values and culture and how it aligns with those of the organization and customers.

Once the concept has been envisioned and is ready to be transformed into reality, management skills or “left brain” activities are required for proper execution and delivery.  In many cases, it is best to employ a Project Management Professional to work in conjunction with leadership making sure the correct tasks are being done correctly.

While there is a distinction between Leadership and Management, neither can be successful without the other.  While no amount of good management skills can compensate for lack of leadership, no amount of good leadership can compensate for lack of management.