Leading vs. Managing


Was reading this HBR blog by Vineet Nayar, who is also a very good speaker, and liked what he had to say

Counting value vs Creating value.

You’re probably counting value, not adding it, if you’re managing people. Only managers count value; some even reduce value by disabling those who add value. If a diamond cutter is asked to report every 15 minutes how many stones he has cut, by distracting him, his boss is subtracting value.

By contrast, leaders focuses on creating value, saying: “I’d like you to handle A while I deal with B.” He or she generates value over and above that which the team creates, and is as much a value-creator as his or her followers are. Leading by example and leading by enabling people are the hallmarks of action-based leadership.

Circles of influence vs Circles of power. 

Just as managers have subordinates and leaders have followers, managers create circles of power while leaders create circles of influence.

The quickest way to figure out which of the two you’re doing is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice. The more that do, the more likely it is that you are perceived to be a leader.

Leading people vs Managing work.

Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.


First point creating value is very striking.  I was analysing myself, and found that only recently I have started thinking on these lines and started implementing it. There is always the element of experience sharing, taking responsibility owing to being higher up in the chain, guiding as and when required. But creating value is really something which one needs to do consciously and constantly. Whether it be through introducing new systems, changing set patterns, job redistribution, growth & development of team members, creating new work culture, and being a part of their lives.

As for circles of influence goes, I found that I have not yet reached that stage. Will have to work towards it. People from other departments do call me and ask about jobs to be done by our department. But I can’t call it advice, or can I. So in this area, I am still a manager.

Leading people is again another areas where I am trying to hone my skills. As my earlier post detailed how I have come to the conclusion that in a PSE, I have better chances of making difference in the lives of people, if I stick to my honest, straightforward outlook.

Any suggestions, guys??


One response »

  1. Pingback: 3 Differences Between Managers and Leaders | TAL Group, Inc.

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