“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
― Peter Drucker
I have a kid currently working on their Eagle Scout project. Now, an Eagle Scout project is a challenging service project that provides an opportunity to demonstrate leadership. It’s not an easy task, and the difficulty is one of the reasons why so few scouts achieve that top rank.
I’m an Eagle Scout and remember the challenges I faced years ago, so I’ve tried to impart wisdom about how to lead as a prospective Eagle Scout. I’ve stressed the importance of learning and demonstrating leadership throughout an Eagle project, and I want my children to view these situations as opportunities to grow as leaders.
The other day, however, my kid told me something interesting about the people who will evaluate the project: “They say they want leadership, but they’re looking for management.”
My response: “Give them both.”
Most people don’t understand the difference between leadership and management, but both skills are essential for success. Good management is foundational to project success and it’s a great skill to develop.
So give them both.
As a leader, you must inspire, encourage, and empower others, but don’t avoid owning whatever needs to be done. If your evaluation is based on how well you manage the project, then as a leader, be a great manager. Leaders aren’t worried about who does the “lesser” tasks. They’re focused on winning. Sometimes, that means leading from the trenches and working alongside the people you lead. Sometimes, it means stepping in with a clipboard and managing tasks and resources.
Another way to see this is by flipping it upside down. Leaders don’t have to be managers, but managers should always be leaders. Managers who possess leadership skills are more effective in their roles and can inspire their teams to achieve great results.
Leadership and management go hand in hand. If you can develop both skillsets, you’ll set yourself apart and demonstrate your readiness to take on any challenge.