Leadership and Management

Leadership and Management.

Leadership and management are the two sides of the same coin. When we separate both everything in the organizational system falls apart! Being aware of this two sides of the same coin is the first step towards real agility.

Leadership should exist and is required at all levels; management is about discipline, maintaining processes and continues improvement of those processes, etc. and management must also exist at all levels, even at senior executive level.

Quantum of management and leadership varies based on the role and level and scope of vision, but both must exist at all levels and they are the two sides of the same coin. We cannot separate management and leadership and both are needed to create unified whole that can transform and re/shape itself to changing environment. However, how to design the whole system to set the concepts and the roles and the principles and the practices that are needed for leadership and management is not an easy endeavor!

May the wisdom be with you that will shed light in your thinking to bring awareness that there are no chickens and pigs and any other cartoon characters in the organizational system.

What kind of wisdom you will need to recreate and co-create a new organizational structure where you engage everyone together that can bring forth all invisible structures to a visible state where you can see the flow of value both in your development and operational processes?

Please check for great insights on leadership and management aspects of managing flow of creation in the development process as well as management of flow of the operations through TameFlow; in addition, learn more about inspired leadership in TameFlow.


I like the analogy of leadership and management being two sides of the same coin as opposed to two separate concerns. I phrase it as leadership is setting an aim that inspires people to move forward while management is enabling people to be able to move towards the aim.

In terms of the Logical Thinking Processes, leadership is about setting an organization’s goal while management is both removing or minimizing the impediments to the goal and establishing and enhancing loops that reinforce progress towards the goal.


Thanks for your posting, Sri! I also like the two sides of the same coin reference. In TameFlow we talk about how cost accounting motivates leaders toward goals that serve their local interests, and that this sets up conflicts in the organization. Do you think that this undesirable effect impacts both sides of the coin equally – leadership and management? I’d be curious to hear your thinking about that.

1 Like

Thank you for the comments and for the great question, Minton! I will give my thoughts sometime later today or tomorrow.


In TameFlow we talk about how cost accounting motivates leaders toward goals that serve their local interests, and that this sets up conflicts in the organization. Do you think that this undesirable effect impacts both sides of the coin equally – leadership and management? I’d be curious to hear your thinking about that.


Yes, this undesirable affect of cost accounting impacts both sides of the coin equally -leadership and management- in varying degrees; as any great design emerges( I mean design of the social organization), organization could learn by thinking through the management side and the leadership side and can evolves towards an effective design that meets the goal of the whole system and be on a transformational journey through life of the time.

As there is a lot of information and case studies that illustrates the problem of cost accounting and how TOC’s Throughput Accounting would solve those challenges of local decisions to meet the goals of the system, rather than local interests, I will make an attempt through the following thinking process.

One question to ask ourselves at the outset is why organizations still resist to abandon the cost accounting paradigm or for that matter resistance to any new paradigm changing ideas.

The resistance is part of the nature and it is desirable, as long as it is coming from the open minds(but, please don’t tolerate closed minds). The wisdom to know how to manage resistance and how to take advantage of it will help organizations to propel to great speeds and, also, helps to keep form and shape of the organization. For instance an aircraft wouldn’t fly without the resistance of the air or pull of the gravitational forces. A certain type and form of leadership plays a big role to manage transformational change by taking advantage of the resistance in a social setting. What is this type and form of leadership we would need? Let us explore some conceptual ideas on leadership as follows.

The same set of concepts can be applicable to new ideas in engineering, marketing, sales, or any domain.

What is the role of leadership? What concepts or models of leadership motivates you? Do you believe in designer as a leader? Do you believe in servant as a leader? Do you want to be an inspired leader? Do you believe in science of leadership- this leadership concept helps addresses the challenges of resistance to new ideas? So on and so forth. There are different concepts and models of leadership and you may adopt any of those or use combination of different concepts and ideas of leadership that you can walk your talk at every heartbeat of your journey and be true to that form of leadership. Of all concepts of the leadership models, my favorite is designer as a leader(attributes to Peter Senge of Fifth Disciple). This leadership style - designer as a leader- style helps to design your whole system, conceptually in the initial stages, and helps to emerge the design of your social system based on changing environment changes. Zara is one example and Toyota Motor Company and South West are also good examples.

One critical question that you need to ask is this: How would you like to design your social organizational system? Designer as a leader and science of leadership would give great insights and starting point to design your organization and inspired leadership concepts that TameFlow supports will help rally people in your organization towards your systems goals. TameFlow along with TOC and thinking process tools are a good start to design your systems and helps in creating an emergent design of your system as per your aspirational needs.

What are the key system goals from the perspective of cost accounting? Is it reducing the cost of the local interests or increasing the revenue of the whole system. When you think through these systems goals, you take the role of leadership- one side of the coin, some of the leadership concepts described above, could help to unravel the resistance to new ideas.

The second side of the coin- management- is primarily about maintaining discipline through a set of processes that are contextually compatible. TameFlow through the metaphor of the Jeep, Jungle, and Journey - the workflow, work processes, and work execution respectively- would certainly help to see through second side of the coin. The management side of the two sides of the coin would help you to integrate and synthesize symbiotically all levels of the organization to design holistically the social systems and that could help to churn products/services needed to changing market needs and at the same time maintain profit margins. Most importantly you would know methods to collect and measure flow metrics in your development and operational processes.


Great write-up @sgarapati!

1 Like

@sgarapati: Could you share definitions of a “leader” and a “manager” - or definitions of “leadership” and “management”. I am curious why these concepts are separated.

@mark Thank you for asking. Would you please elaborate your perspectives? These concepts are not separated, explanations appears to be separate, but they are part of the same coin. Is the above explanation not sufficient that could help to derive a definition from your own perspective? Any definition has a risk, it is like putting a box over it particularly for concepts that has value in social environments.

@sgarapati: I was struggling with the metaphor of a coin. So do I understand you correctly that one human being equals a coin and then this human being should have both “leadership” competences and behaviors and also “management” competences and behaviors since these two terms are not separate?

Thanks for the write-up!

From my perspective leadership and management are separate.

Traditionally leadership is associated with ‘leader’, a role based definition, and almost all of leadership literature has this perspective. The role is linked to position and authority. This is leadership as a noun.

What if you think of leadership as a verb? This makes leadership an activity and that activity is ‘change’. If you look at it from this perspective anyone can initiate change, so everyone can be a leader, in that context. Everyone is not a manager.

If instead of equating leadership with person (L=P), we define leadership as purpose and process (L=P+P), leadership can be thought of as the "orientation towards sensemaking of the context and purposes of work” (Kempster, Jackson, & Conroy, 2011), where “leadership activities emerge in social interaction and of how institutionalized notions of leadership are brought into — and re-constructed in — these same activities” (Crevani, Lindgren, & Packendorff, 2010).

@mark thank you for sharing your thoughts. Hope the following will give additional insights to reflect on.
@oysteinm Thank you for your inputs. You are right to think of leadership as verb. The following are my additional reflections on this subject.

I appreciate for opening up your minds and sharing your thoughts. I am sure there will be many more out in the world struggling with the same.

We will get confused when we see them as a role of a manager or a leader. Unfortunately, organizational management thought process codified those as roles by etching on a ”stone.” We will have a better leverage point to influence and to control the flow of organizational dynamics when see both as an activity that needs to be visualized and worked and walked at each level of the organization. Quantum of the each varies depending on the level of the responsibility carried by a person in the organizational system. At lower levels, the nature of work will be more routine, but that routine cannot be improved through continuous improvement of processess if the leadership attributes and capabilities are lacking; similarly, at higher levels the nature of work will be less routine and you would see more attributes of leadership, but that doesn’t mean no management attributes and capabilities are needed at that higher level. If you lack any of those attributes whatever may be the level you will have a very fragile organizational structure and everything will fall apart or burn more resources than needed.

Let us switch our perspective to understand similar concepts from the nature, the nature has inbuilt mechanism to foster evolution of creation process which was responsible for all the life and diversity on the planet and in the universe. In the nature, all creation happens because of existence of the duality- opposite polarities- in all elements or things.

We will need to go the East to understand this philosophy. Knowing the concepts of Tao of Leadership is a great start to dig a little deeper into these concepts. The Vedic philosophy postulates that all creation happens through vibrations, duality or polar opposites, but everything is one and the same and sees unity in this universe. Our entire universe exists because of duality of all forces in the nature. Cyclical vibratory forces are the basis for all creation. Even time is cyclical, not linear.

As you explore the concepts of yin and yang, you will discover the beauty and the wisdom of the nature as it reveals itself on how things works and how creation happens. With this new knowledge, you will be in a better position to influence or control the creation process.

When we apply the wisdom of the nature in the creation process and when we see leadership and management as Yin and Yang respectively, we will have a better influence and control over organizational dynamics to keep the form and shape of the organization. Within each of those two activities- leadership and management- we should also see Yin and Yang nature of the work as well. A wise leader displays major component of Yin characteristics most of the time, and may also display Yang characteristics at some other times as contextual situation demands, for example.

When we observe keenly activities at any workplace, we should see both of these activities, assuming people in that workplace hava a keen understanding of these concepts and have been trained to work in such a way by the organizational culture.

We may define management activities as a disciplined approach to manage current processes, and leadership as a disciplined approach to think ahead to see at the edges of the work processes in order to focus on improving the current state of those work processes.

For effective organizational agility both of these activities -leadership and management- must exit at all levels and, as well as, in each person in the organizational system.