\u201cHe\u2019s a manager, not a leader,\u201d my source explained to me, referring to the CIO in a disparaging tone of voice.\n\nI followed up with a few dozen more 360-degree interviews \u2014 translation: I talked with a lot of different people \u2014 and confirmed the diagnosis.\n\nExcept for one thing: The CIO\u2019s focus on management was, to use the technical term, a \u201cgood thing.\u201d Because what\u2019s frequently missed in the perennial leadership vs. management fracas is that management is about getting work out the door. Leadership is an important collection of techniques managers use to get the people in their organization to embrace the direction they\u2019re trying to set.\n\nWhich does help get work out the door. It\u2019s an important contributing factor, but it isn\u2019t the main event.\n\nLeadership vs. management\n\nI blame Peter Drucker, who, not being with us anymore, can\u2019t defend himself. It was Drucker who famously said, \u201cManagement is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.\u201d\n\nI have no quibble with this division of labor. It\u2019s just that, when you compare the importance of \u201cright things\u201d and \u201cdoing things,\u201d it\u2019s important not to disrespect how much \u201cdoing things\u201d matters.\n\nOne source of this disrespect is a popular myth of organizational effectiveness consulting \u2014 that organizations are permeated with lots and lots of activities that shouldn\u2019t be improved because they aren\u2019t worth doing. We consultants are well-armed with pithy anecdotes about past clients within which we unearthed a costly example of something-or-other that wasn\u2019t worth doing.\n\nBut as the saying goes, anecdote isn\u2019t the singular of data, and too often it turns out that the something-that-isn\u2019t-worth-doing is something the management consultant doesn\u2019t understand well enough to decipher its value.\n\nManagement is how those in charge make sure the organization really is running the way it should. That being the case, why is it that leadership gets all the mystique?\n\nIt starts, I think, with a fundamental misunderstanding. Getting back to Drucker, it\u2019s easy to draw a false inference \u2014 that if leadership is doing the right things while management is doing them right, then without leaders to guide them, managers would do the wrong things the right way, steadfastly dragging the whole enterprise in the wrong direction.\n\nBut it would be an unusual organization whose managerial leaders, lacking any good sense, really have no idea what the right direction is. And anyway, it would be exceptionally rare for there to be just one right direction and not a number of promising alternatives.\n\nHow strategy fits in\n\nStrategy, then, more often than not, isn\u2019t something leaders craft, but something they choose from among several alternatives, leaving the hard work of making the strategy real to the managers who report to them.\n\nSo why does leadership get all the buzz? A cynic might suggest that the more respect doing-the-work gets, the more the company might have to pay the people who do that work, which in turn would mean those who manage the work would get paid more than those who think and charismatically express deep and inspirational thoughts.\n\nAnd as there are more people who do work than those who manage it, respecting the work and those who do it would be expensive.\n\nDon\u2019t misunderstand. Done properly, leading is a lot of work, and because leading is about people, not processes or tools and technology; it\u2019s time consuming, too. And in fact, when I conduct leadership seminars, the biggest barrier to success for most participants is figuring out and committing to their time budget.\n\nLeadership, that is, involves setting direction, making or facilitating decisions, staffing, delegating, motivating, overseeing team dynamics, engineering the business culture, and communicating. Leaders who are committed to improving at their trade must figure out how much time they plan to devote to each of these eight tasks, which is hard enough.\n\nThen they need to figure out where that time will come from \u2014 harder, as their calendars are already full, or nearly so.\n\nManagement, in contrast, is about organizing, overseeing processes, and implementing new tools that encourage higher productivity and effectiveness \u2014 the well-worn \u201cpeople, process, technology\u201d mantra. Its time budget is, to an extent, compressible.\n\nAnd so, management encompasses leadership as just one of the responsibilities its practitioners must master. That being the case, it deserves more respect than the old \u201cThey\u2019re managers but need to be leaders\u201d trope.\n\nOn the other hand, people are more complicated than the processes and technology that make up the non-leadership aspects of management, and so, in addition to being more time-consuming than management, leadership calls for a defter, more empathic touch.\n\nWhich is more important? It doesn\u2019t really matter. Those in charge need to give both leadership and management the respect they deserve. And along the way, they need to give those they lead and manage \u2014 the employees who actually do the work \u2014 the respect they deserve as well.