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We were introducing each other at the start of a seminar. A young manager introduced himself by saying that he “handled” a group of customers in a particular geography as also “handled” a team of 12. You don’t “handle” customers any more than you “handle” employees. You lead employees to serve customers, don’t you? Which leads me to the age old debate of the differences between managing and leading. I have always found Ed Batista’s blog on Executive Coaching & Change Management full of interesting insight. Ed is the Leadership Coach at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

In a recent post he writes of “Peter Drucker on Knowledge Workers, Management and Leadership”. For a younger generation who may not be as familiar with Prof. Peter Drucker as mine, let me say that he was one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on management. He passed away in November 2005 at the age of 96.

I continue to be impressed with Drucker’s classic on management being about doing things right and leadership being about doing the right things. I see a great co-relation between this and the difference between being efficient and being effective. Doesn’t this lead, I ask, to leaders being responsible for effectiveness ( largely doing the right things) and managers being responsible for efficiency ( doing things right) ?

Excellence in leadership comes through being efficient where we need to be efficient – yet being effective in all that we do.

The debate about management and leadership is renewed with every new generation of management students ( or should we say students of leadership 🙂 ?.

What do you think?

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This is Post No: 315 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.

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