INSTANT MBA: There Is A Difference Between A Leader And A Manager

Todd McKinnon Okta

Photo: Twitter/Todd McKinnon

Today’s advice comes from Todd McKinnon, CEO of Okta, via his column at Fast Company“Leadership and management are not mutually exclusive by any means. Instead, they each require both muscle groups applied in the right mix —and understanding how they are distinct makes managers better leaders and leaders better managers.” 

McKinnon points out that leadership is more about inspiration and steering where as management deals with overseeing and delegating. As a leader, one has to be able to alter the direction and the momentum of the company, something a manager cannot. If you want to start your own company, you need to be a leader. McKinnon reasons that “while management responsibilities can be delegated, leadership cannot, nor can company culture.”

Furthermore, he stresses the importance of knowing the difference between management and leadership communication:

  • “Management communication is a lot like engineering: logical and precise…Just as good product code is delivered without errors or omissions, a good manager delivers information, clearly, crisply, and in a timely manner, often focusing on the details instead of the larger picture.”
  • “On the other hand, leadership communication is about connecting with people at an emotional level. Done well, it hits people in the gut and makes them think. It makes them believe they can do something — even something crazy — and that they can win against all odds.”

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