The Difference Between Leadership and Management (PODCAST)

Business could be the most powerful force for good if it would accept the profound responsibility for the lives of the people entrusted to us — Bob Chapman

A few months ago I downloaded the audio version of Simon Sinek’s second book Leaders Eat Last so I had something to listen to on the drive to my friend’s wedding. Seth Godin once said that an audiobook can change your life, especially when you listen to it over and over again. Unlike many of the other business audiobooks, I listened to Simon’s latest book over and over again. And every single time, I heard the story of a CEO named Bob Chapman, who seemed a bit like a somewhat imaginary leader of a utopian company. Soon after Bob published a book of his own and thanks to the fact that we have the same publisher, I got the opportunity to interview him. We talked extensively about the profound difference between leadership and management.

Somehow we’ve made leadership and management interchangeable words. But they’re not. A few years ago when I went to interview at a market research company and asked about the culture, one of the people interviewing me said “when we say work starts at 8:00, we don’t mean 8:15.” That’s management. Needless to say the culture of that organization was toxic, the person who got the job I was interviewing for was fired in 3 months, and the vice President of the group shortly after.

When you manage people they’ll at best do what’s expected.

When you lead them they’ll live up to their full potential.

According to author Dan Pink three of the most critical factors in performance, are autonomy, mastery and purpose. When you confuse leadership with management, you stifle autonomy.


“People are not taught to be leaders, they’re taught to be managers”

Parenting and leadership are identical. Business leadership according to Bob is “the stewardship of the lives of people who walk in your door everyday hoping to have a chance to express their gifts and be appreciated for.

“Our job as leaders is to allow those people who join us in our endeavors to be the person they’re intended to be towards a common vision and recognize and celebrate their progress along that.”

I’m the host and founder of the Unmistakable Creative Podcast.

Written by

Order An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake: Listen to the @UnmistakableCR podcast in iTunes

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store