In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey illustrated the difference between Management and Leadership in this way:
"Management is a bottom line focus: How can I best accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish? In the words of both Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, 'Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.' Management is effeciency in climbing the ladder of sucess; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
"You can quickly grasp the important difference between the two if you envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They're the producers, the problem solvers. They're cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.
"The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation plans for machete wielders.
"The leader is the onle who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, 'Wrong jungle!' "
Clearly, both leadership and management are important for reaching our goals or achieving our mission(s). But it seems to me to make a lot more sense to put leadership first, to make sure you're in the right jungle before you start hacking away with machetes, whenever possible.
This is where I am on my journey right now. This week I have a goal of writing a rough draft of my personal mission statement (see 7 Habits for more info). Then I will work on getting our family together to write our family's mission statement.
Right now I at least know I'm in a Jungle.... now if only I could get to the top of that tree!