Management vs. Leadership in Today’s Ever-changing Environment

4 Apr 2011 by Tina Hicks, No Comments »
Networking and enjoying refreshments

Networking and enjoying refreshments

 “Where Management is about coping with complexity; Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.  Each system of action involves deciding what needs to be done, creating networks of people and relationships that can accomplish an agenda, and then trying to ensure those people actually do the job, but they are accomplished in entirely different ways.  Management deals with process, Leadership requires inspiring and empowering people.  More change always demands more leadership” (Kotter, 1999).

While most of us are familiar with Kotter’s concepts and ideas regarding management and leadership; we, the MBA Association, had the unique opportunity to listen to firsthand accounts from individuals on the “frontline” of business.  The three panelists came from distinctively different types of businesses covering the spectrum from smaller scale privately owned to non-profit to large publicly traded global enterprise.  As professionals in positions of authority within their individual companies, each of the panelists have experienced the struggle their companies have in creating a culture that embraces a balance of management and leadership.

Questions were posed by a moderator and each panelist was given the opportunity to respond with their thoughts.  First the idea of management and leadership as a contrast or complement was explored.  Dr. Michael Rossi talked about the fact that the difference lies in management having subordinates while leaders have followers. 

Ms. Christine Rinaldi, Dr. Michael Rossi, and Mr. Gagan Mathur

Mr. Gagan Mathur mentioned how management keeps an organization running like a well oiled machine and leadership is what keeps it “breathing”.  The questions went on to discuss what role organizational culture plays in the success of an enterprise.  Ms. Christine Rinaldi brought up her experience with management restructuring and how her company had to completely overhaul the management/leadership teams to develop a fresh environment from one that had stagnated.  Finally the concept of intercultural competence and globalization and the challenges they create were addressed.  Mr. Mathur mentioned an experience with keeping project management teams running on schedule and budget while having the team in India take a half day for a cricket tournament.  Ms. Rinaldi spoke to the fact that honesty and integrity is a universal language and developing relationships is a very big part of success in the global market place.

The floor was then opened up to questions from the audience.  One person questioned whether a reserved person has what it takes to be a leader.  Many times when we think of leaders, people like Martin Luther King Jr. or JFK pop into our minds.   Mr. Mathur was quick to point out that leaders do not have to be vocal or out in front of the crowd.  A leader needs to have strategy, vision, innovation; they can be “quiet” even while leading.  A number of other questions were asked and the panel discussion came to a close.  Dr. Rossi ended the night with the statement, “You recruit for talent and train for skill.”  A very good thought to keep in our minds as we develop our own management and leadership abilities within our individual organizations.

Don’t miss anymore of these events!  To join the MBA Association, request a membership form from Christina Hicks at  Get connected, get involved!


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