There are many people that talk about leadership and management and feel that they’re the same thing. I tend not to be one of those people. Whereas I acknowledge that for someone to be truly great they need to have a good understanding of each of these and know how to use them, I also recognize that these two things don’t always mix. For instance, just as I know for sure that not all managers are great leaders, I know that not all strong leaders are great managers.

The best place to see this type of thing is in looking at major political leaders throughout history. Let’s start with this list: Caesar, Hitler, Stalin, Castro and Napoleon. It’s hard not to say they were all strong leaders. It’s not all that hard to say that they weren’t great managers. What do I mean by that?

Let’s take a quick look at each of these men.

Caesar was such a bad manager that he had no idea the people directly below him hated him so much that they wanted to kill him. No matter the reason, for someone who was as strong a leader as he was he let his guard down.

Hitler was such a bad manager that he refused to listen to the advice of people whom he had promoted to help him in his quest and decided to try to attack Russia and the United Kingdom. Neither one was successful, and both helped to bring down his reign of terror. Actually, attacking Russia in the middle of winter was probably the bigger mistake, as well as not expecting that Stalin would be willing to lose the lives of every citizen of his country to battle him.

Stalin was a bad manager because he trusted no one and cared for no one. I already mentioned how he would have allowed every citizen to be killed to protect his leadership and power. He also killed every person he thought could turn against him, which included members of his family, and even people he once trusted and learned from he either had killed or jailed or sent away somewhere.

Castro was almost as bad as Stalin, except he didn’t have to kill as many of his own people. However, he never thought about the greater good of the masses, instead sticking to a doctrine that, within 10 years had already grown stale and punitive against the people of his country, yet he continued it up until 5 years ago, and is still a pretty powerful beacon within his country.

And of course Napoleon was so revered that they put him in power twice, only to allow him to decide to invade others when there was no need, nor with the strength he believed he had. He overestimated himself and his importance and, once again, didn’t listen to anyone else. That plus many appointments he made were based on family and friends and not necessarily putting the best people into important positions.

Overall, the best leaders aren’t the ones who end up making all the decisions based on how they feel. They’re the ones who will allow others to have a part in the process, to listen to what they have to say, to really think about what they have to say and then make the proper decision afterwards. It also means caring about others as much as, if not more, than yourself when it’s needed. That’s why I believe these two concepts are indeed different, because you can actually end up with one without being the other.

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