“What’s the difference between leadership and management,” people often ask.
Here’s one difference I often illustrate with.
Most people I know haven’t sold things and are afraid of selling. They fear rejection, failure, putting themselves out there, bothering people, and those parts of selling. They know most people feel the same.
A great manager can create incentives for someone to sell, like with big commissions, training, resources, and a clear job description, but it’s almost impossible to get someone who hasn’t sold to sell successfully, putting their hearts into it.
A great leader can inspire someone to feel such ownership of a project that they want it to succeed so much, that they’ll do what it takes to make the project work. If that means selling something, they’ll do it. Company founders know that if their company needs someone to sell the product or service, they’ll do it. Usually they start the project because they believe so much in the product or service that in their hearts and minds, selling it improves the world. Same with getting investment, also known as selling shares of the company. Even if they’ve never sold before, they’ll figure out how to.
I certainly know that coming from a PhD in physics, I had no sales background. When I started Submedia, I didn’t have a burning desire to put more advertising in the world. But I loved my project and it took sales to start it. I took a long time to develop skills with any effectiveness, but I did it.
A great leader can make someone feel that engagement and passion so that they want to do what it takes. I used selling as an example, but the same applies to any task.
That’s a difference between management and leadership. The manager motivates through external incentives. The leader inspires to work through internal emotion.
I’m not saying either is better or worse. Each his its applications.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
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