Management vs leadership

Something I dug into as a student of the altMBA was that management and leadership are two distinctly different things.

You can be a leader without being a manager, or a manager without being a leader.

You see, management is often:

  • Hierarchical
  • About titles, authority and status
  • Inefficient
  • Messy
  • One to many
  • About processes, not people
  • Bestowed upon you like some kind of privilege
  • People talking at each other and not listening to each other
  • Presented in 700-page textbooks written in the 90s


Leadership, on the other hand, is often:

  • Flat and can come from anywhere
  • About taking action, ownership and creating change
  • Efficient
  • One on one
  • Personal and human
  • Relatable
  • People creating space for others to talk to one another
  • Represented in viral talks like this or best-selling books like this

Perhaps the most important distinction is that leadership is a choice. There’s nothing stopping us from viewing ourselves as leaders and starting to act as such. As Seth says “If you want to be a leader, go lead.”

PS. For bonus viewing, check out this video of my strangely animated eyebrows telling a similar story.