the difference between being a leader or being a manager.

Too often these are confused and usually, managing is mistaken for leading and we end up with a leaderless organisation. Yes, these two functions overlap, and yes they can be the same person, but they require very different things.

Leaders define a new reality. People want to be taken somewhere, and somewhere is the responsibility of the leader to choose and define. Leaders also design and create the culture. Culture is probably one of the most neglected parts of an organisation, often just a few words on a wall or in a document somewhere, and if not created intentionally will form on its own and will then be very difficult to shift. Leaders resource, encourage, listen, and create stability in which creativity can function

Managers’ main function is about how. How we use what we have available to reach the goals that we have set and this, of course, takes great skill.

Too often I see leaderless organisations filled with managers creating endless review systems and closed loop organograms, they turn organisations into Ouroboros, the mythical snake that is forever eating its own tail.

The opposite I also see, managerless organisations filled with passion but nothing ever really comes to fruition, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

Neither is life-giving, a leaderless organisation is impotent and the opposite is a hormone-driven teenager. That is not how you make a baby.

We need both.

Get skin in the game, know what you need.


see my keynote on leadership here, Monsters, Heroes, and Kings