Man and women in suit shaking hands

Do you want to be a leader or a manager?

This question has always annoyed me, and here’s why.

I have always found it fascinating how these words are used in business. We start as ‘team leaders’ become ‘managers’ and then hopefully end up as part of the ‘leadership team’. If you read a text about leadership, it will inevitably interchange leadership for management & the same will happen if you read management texts.

Much of the education & training industry insists on reinforcing old paradigms such as:

“Management is Doing Things Right, Leadership is Doing the Right Things.”

“Leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them.”

“Managers tell. Leaders sell”

These all imply that the concept of management is somehow basically flawed and is no doubt a legacy of the industrial era and poor management.

Everyone wants to be a leader, no one wants to be a manager.

Shouldn’t we be both? Could this insistence of separating management from leadership be contributing to the challenges we see globally with engagement, sustainability, ethics, well-being?

I think its time to move to a new paradigm. After all for organisations to attract and retain great staff the only option is to truly integrate leadership and management development.  Maybe its time for a whole new word .. Managership? Leadager? OK maybe not 

What are you thoughts?



Gabby Button is a Co-Founder of The Wisdom Playground and Director of the Australian Institute of Leaders and Entrepreneurs. She is an award winning trainer, facilitator and coach. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook and if you are a coach why not jump into our private facebook group to stay up to date and gain access to ongoing tips, networking opportunities and other learning resources.

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