Another take on Management versus Leadership.

I admit that I can be rather fond of debating the differences between leading and managing. So of course, this quote jumped off the screen at me, when reading a Tom Peters’ post called Work on Your Story!

“Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: ‘Who do we intend to be?’ Not ‘What are we going to do?’ but ‘Who do we intend to be?’”—Max De Pree, Herman Miller Inc.

That’s a yummy one.

Max DePree is one of those managers and leaders that I’m so glad decided to put pen to paper, sharing his business wisdom with the rest of us. His are values-centered philosophies, and he doesn’t hesitate to talk about them as moral issues. As a writer, I wish I could be as concise as he is: he says just enough to open some doorway in your mind, making you think for yourself. Here are some Max DePree quotes from The Book of Leadership Wisdom edited by Peter Krass.

“Leadership is never handled carelessly—we share it, but we don’t give it away.”

“Life is more than just reaching our goals. As individuals and as a group we need to reach our potential. Nothing else is good enough.”

“The condition of our hearts, the openness of our attitudes, the quality of our competence, the fidelity of our experience—these give vitality to the work experience and give meaning to life.”

Wondering how DePree’s company, Herman Miller, Inc. is doing with this kind of leadership? Take a look. Founded in 1923, this is how their website describes their history:

Our history of employee participation and ownership and technological innovation has long roots and continues to grow. We have always worked hard to be serious about both people and business. We look at our primary goal as creating great places to work.

Hmm. More to chew on ” Management: “serious about people.” Leadership: “serious about business.” ”