Generating ideas, connections, and action

Management ≠ Leadership

Eleanor, Marla, and Miriam at CompassPoint’s “Take Control of Your Leadership Development: Frameworks for Emerging and New Leaders” Workshop

As part of our own leadership growth, Eleanor and I from the LLC team, were able to participate in CompassPoint’s workshop “Take Control of Your Leadership Development: Frameworks for Emerging and New Leaders.” Our facilitator, Marla Cornelius, shared many resources with us to help frame the conversation for the leadership workshop. With Marla’s permission, we are sharing some of these resources with you in this blog post.


At the workshop, Marla shared a timeline demonstrating some common Leadership Theories and dates of when they were prominent. Since leadership is a social construct, it is difficult to define leadership when there are many interpretations of what leadership is and how it shows up. You will note that many of the assumptions that show up on the timeline are still prominent today.


For over 200 years, people have been analyzing and studying leadership. Here at LLC we believe that social sector leadership can be transformative through collective and networked efforts, where organizations and individuals can work together to change systems of oppression and disrupt systemic injustices. As I studied the timeline, I realized how traditional leadership mindsets have come to inform current leadership  assumptions. I am left wondering what kind of leadership will be needed to tackle wicked problems of the present and future.


Another lesson from the workshop was exploring the difference between management and leadership. Often, leadership and management are confused as one in the same while they are distinctly different approaches.



Management concentrates on the details; what’s needs to be done now to reach our goal (agenda), the logistics, producing order and systems. Leadership keeps its eye on the larger picture; the mission, visualizing the larger goal (agenda). Success cannot be achieved if you do not have both in our projects. To find a balance in organizations, we need to be asking simultaneously:

1) Management for what purpose? and

2) What is needed to reach our goal? Organizationally, it is important to collaborate with these two approaches; to understand where staff work best.

While for individuals our gradient can vary; some may lean towards a management vision more than leadership approach or vice versa. Instead of creating a division, this tension facilitates collective collaboration because both approaches are needed for success. Leadership cannot succeed without management and the reverse is also true; management cannot succeed without leadership.


Where On This Gradient Do You Work Best?
(As an Individual? As an Organization?)


Individual Leadership and Management


After the workshop, I reflected on when I was younger and how I relied on leadership for broader vision. But that the in between, visualizing the how to’s, was harder for me. As I have gain more life and work experience, my place on the leadership/management gradient has shifted towards the middle. I can definitely see the broader vision but remember and understand what steps are needed to reach my goal.


As a reference, we were also given the ‘Characteristics of Great Managers and Great Leaders’.


CompassPoint’s workshop helped me realize that there is always work to be done. That we all need to be able to move between management and leadership on this pendulum. Depending on the challenges we face and the tasks at hand and there is always room for growth. I am challenged to redefine what leadership means to me and incorporate this vision into reality in my everyday life- not just work. Although, my definition of leadership is constantly growing and changing, I am sure that to me leadership is: honest, caring, collaborative, imaginative, courageous, dependable, fair-minded, and forward-thinking. I can commit to aligning these values to my everyday actions. It has been refreshing to find the framework to express this shift through this framework and reflect more on this with Eleanor and the rest of team.


We hope that all of you will take a moment to reflect on your own management and leadership skills. Keep us posted on your learnings through Twitter (@LeadershipEra @MiriamPersley), Facebook, and email. We always enjoy learning from you.


For further reflections on great management development check out Natalia’s article.