Leadership is a funny thing. The better you do it, the more management you need.
Leadership drives momentum. It inspires others to do something greater than themselves. It is the force that causes change. By its very nature, great leadership makes the leader’s task even more difficult. The more change a leader spurs, the more chaos is created.
Management enables momentum. It keeps things in check and ensures predictable outcomes. It is the throttle that creates stability. By its very nature, stronger management makes the leader’s task all the more possible. The more stability a manager creates, the faster the change is able to occur.
If leadership is the locomotive, then management is the tracks. The power of the locomotive must be harnessed into a direction. Without the tracks, the locomotive’s power is unbridled. There will be no control over the destination. The stronger and more deliberate the tracks, the more power the engine is able to channel into speed.
Great leaders are not always great managers, but they must build an appreciation, a reliance, and a strong capability in management disciplines. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that great leadership overcomes a management void. It can be used to overcome weakness for a period of time, but it surely will not sustain without it.