The Dichotomy of Leadership

I often get criticized within my own company for making too many changes. I can’t stop tinkering with our strategy, the organization, or our tactics. I can’t stop tweaking our business model. I just see things that need to be fixed, refined, or evolved and I push them forward as new ideas. I can always find a way to make things better. Nothing is ever perfect and I’m resolved to keep making things better.

The Dichotomy of Leadership - David DeWolf

Leaders, by their very nature, are all about change. Managers manage the status quo; they keep the engines running. Leaders push things forward, ensure progress, inspire towards a vision, and get people to move in that direction.

In other words, where leaders prompt change, managers provide stability.

Until recently, I never considered the ramifications of this reality. By and large, people don’t like change. Change tends to disrupt people. It makes them anxious. It can be uncomfortable.

As a leader, it’s essential that we continue to push things forward and build momentum. It is upon us to ensure that our organizations and are moving forward. Yet it’s just as important that we have strong management skills or surround ourselves with strong managers who are helping to create the stability necessary for others to feel safe.

Leaders must be managers. Managers are not always leaders.

Leaders must prompt change. They must build momentum and disrupt the status quo. But good leaders also must create the stability necessary for others to perform at peak levels.


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