Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

Stephen Covey mentions this quote from Peter Drucker in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

While explaining a difference between management and leadership, he gives a very good example. 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 programs for machete wielders.

The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong Jungle!”. But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? “Shut up! We’re making progress.”

As individuals, groups, and businesses, we’re often so busy cutting through the undergrowth that we don’t realize we’re in the wrong jungle. And the rapidly changing environment in which we live makes effective leadership more critical than it has ever been – in every aspect of independent and interdependent life.

Management is a bottom line focus: How can I accomplish certain things? While leadership deals with the top line : What are the things that I want to accomplish?

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