Lead, Not Manage: What’s in a name?

Does the world really need yet another blog?  Well, I am about to find out…

This is at least my third attempt over the past four years to start a blog (although admittedly my previous attempts were half-hearted).  As I started tweeting more over the past year, I have quickly found myself constrained by the 140 character limit – yes I know, the reason my emails are long is because I always run out of time:-)

The most interesting part is that this time around, inspiration paid me a visit fairly quickly as I started to think of an appropriate name which would accurately encompass all the wisdom I am about to impart on the world.

So what is Lead, Not Manage all about? Reflecting back on my professional career and life, I have found that despite the different parts of the world, industries, companies and roles I lived in, there was one common principle that transcended everything and has guided me all along.

Now I am not, nor I pretend to be, a management guru, and many smarter people than me have written tons of books on this subject.  In my simplistic definition

leadership = trust whereas management = control.

From a personal perspective, leadership is about giving people direction and trusting they will execute, recognizing that they may fail from time to time – as I reflect back in my own career, it was those times when I learned the most.  Management is all about controlling and micro-managing people because you don’t trust them to deliver – interesting that the word ‘micro-leading’ does not exist in the English language.  The black-and-white nature of these statements is intentional, I fully know that the real world is much more gray and nuanced, but you get the point.

The interesting extension of these principles is that they are equally important to how businesses are ran and not just how we conduct ourselves; after all, a corporation is just a collection of individuals.

Leadership is all about trusting that your employees will deliver on their promises, trusting the market that they will adopt your products and services, and trusting the financial markets that they will reward you for your success in the market.

This blog will therefore focus on the various facets of leadership, whether it is personal, product, service, innovation, or financial leadership.

The topics I will be covering will span the realm of the business world, and may cover enterprise and consumer technology innovation, the importance of user experience and the impending revolution of social media in business.  I will try to draw on my personal experiences, and at times, draw parallels with industries and topics as seemingly disjointed as agriculture, aviation and sustainability.

I hope you will join me in this journey and help create a forum where we can have an open dialogue on what leadership really means and how to trust and let go.

Let the games begin!

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7 Responses to Lead, Not Manage: What’s in a name?

  1. Shirish June 21, 2010 at 09:19 #

    Completely agree! Looking forward to more of your thoughts.

    • Ted Sapountzis June 21, 2010 at 13:46 #

      Thanks Shirish, and I look forward to our virtual dialogue…

  2. Isabelle June 21, 2010 at 10:19 #

    Dad,

    I’m a 10 year old girl, to me this is very boring. 🙂 hehehe

    • Ted Sapountzis June 21, 2010 at 13:47 #

      Isabelle, keep checking back, perhaps I will write something that you ‘ll find interesting.

      • mehran June 24, 2010 at 05:11 #

        Ted,
        Congratulations on your blog. I enjoy reading your thoughts. I am sure in due time Isabelle will read and re-read these and appreciate dad’s creativeness.
        Best wishes my friend…Mehran

  3. Alex November 24, 2010 at 13:40 #

    Hi Ted,

    Great to read your blog. I hadn’t read this first post until now. Interestingly, a manager (who both of us know) once told me quoting Lenin “trust is good, but control is better”, justifying a certain project approach 🙂

    Look forward to reading more from you!

    • Ted Sapountzis November 25, 2010 at 19:48 #

      Thanks Alex, I hope I can keep you entertained and engaged:-)

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