I recently heard a story first hand where HBS staff visited a high school in Mexico to evaluate how effective the case method was for younger students. To evaluate the students' learning, the HBS staff first question to the students was "what is the difference between leadership and management?" I wonder how many of the MBAs in the U.S. could provide as good an answer as the Mexican high schoolers who had been using HBS cases with their non-business teachers for five years.
According to an excerpt from a new book by John Kotter at HBS, "Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World",
- Leadership is "about setting a direction. It's about creating a vision, empowering and inspiring people to want to achieve the vision, and enabling them to do so with energy and speed through an effective strategy." Vision-Empowering-Strategic
- Management is "a set of well-known processes that help organizations produce reliable, efficient, and predictable results. Really good management helps us do well what we more or less know how to do regardless of the size, complexity, or geographic reach of an enterprise. These processes include planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, giving people time-tested policies and procedures to guide their actions, measuring their results, and problem solving when results do not fit the plan. Process-Scale-Results
The theme of Kotter's book is that we have perfected management over the last century, but that leadership has not kept up with the changes in technology, information, globalization, etc. The vision and mission of organizations need to be update by the leaders to recognize the new environment.
How do leaders deal with complex problems might have been a better theme. Management has advanced sufficiently to deal with simple and complicated problems, but it is not suited for complex problems. That is one reason that scenario planning and design thinking have emerrged as "new" processes. A comprehensive presentation of the various techniques and processes to deal with complex problems would have been interesting contribution to the leadership literature.
For the difference between complex and complicated problems, see this post.