Seth Godin – Leadership vs. Management – What it means to make a difference

By | August 23, 2021

Leadership vs Management: Why the World Needs More Leaders

In the business world, the terms “leadership” and “management” are often used interchangeably. However, according to the world-renowned marketing and leadership author Seth Godin, these two concepts are fundamentally different. In his book “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us,” Godin explains that management works well in terms of increasing economic efficiency and productivity. But, in the face of rapid change, the world needs leadership to get through this stage of unprecedented transformation.

What is the difference between leadership and management?

Management is the process of controlling resources to achieve specific goals. It focuses on maintaining systems and processes, ensuring that everyone follows established protocols, and meeting predetermined metrics. On the other hand, leadership is about inspiring people to work towards a shared vision. It involves creating a compelling narrative, establishing a clear sense of purpose, and motivating people to achieve their full potential.

Why does the world need more leaders?

In today’s fast-changing business landscape, organizations need leaders who can guide them through uncertain times. Leaders have the ability to see the bigger picture, anticipate trends and opportunities, and make bold decisions. They inspire people to think creatively, take calculated risks, and collaborate towards a common goal.

Moreover, the rise of automation, artificial intelligence, and outsourcing means that the traditional skills of management, such as planning and organizing, are increasingly being automated. To stay competitive, organizations need people who possess skills that cannot be replicated by machines. These “soft skills” are actually “real skills” – the characteristics that differentiate a potential employee from a robot. Examples of such skills include creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and effective communication.

How can you become more of a leader than a manager?

If you want to become a leader, there are several steps you can take. First, you need to have a clear vision of where you want to go and why you want to go there. This vision should be inspiring, ambitious, and aligned with your personal values. Second, you need to communicate this vision to others in a way that resonates with them. This involves listening actively, building relationships, and adapting your message to different audiences. Third, you need to empower others to take ownership of the vision and contribute their unique skills and perspectives towards achieving it. This involves creating a culture of trust, collaboration, and accountability.

How can you and your organization strive for excellence instead of just quality?

According to Godin, producing something truly great is the only way to build competitive advantage because sophisticated robots, artificial intelligence, and low-paid labor will handle the trivial job of assuring quality. To strive for excellence, you need to focus on creating products or services that are remarkable, meaning worth making a remark about. This requires constant innovation, experimentation, and a willingness to take risks. You should also aim to exceed customer expectations, not just meet them. This involves understanding your customers’ needs, anticipating their desires, and creating experiences that delight them.

Are you focusing on real skills?

As mentioned earlier, soft skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market. To ensure that you are focusing on real skills, you need to develop your creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and communication abilities. You can do this by seeking out opportunities to practice these skills, such as volunteering, taking on new challenges, and seeking feedback from others.

How can you make better processes in order to fail more efficiently?

No one likes to fail, but failure is an inevitable part of the learning process. To make failure more efficient, you need to create processes that allow you to learn from your mistakes quickly. This involves setting clear goals, measuring progress, and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t. It also involves seeking feedback from others and being willing to pivot when necessary. By embracing failure as a learning opportunity, you can become more resilient, adaptable, and innovative.

Effective leadership can help companies navigate difficulties and failures, and eventually find successful processes to move forward. By creating a culture of innovation, continuous learning, and collaboration, leaders can inspire their team members to reach their full potential and contribute to the growth and success of the organization.


In conclusion, leadership and management are two different concepts, and in the face of rapid change, the world needs more leaders. By focusing on soft skills, striving for excellence, and embracing failure as a learning opportunity, individuals and organizations can become more innovative, resilient, and successful. So, if you want to make a difference in the world and inspire others to follow you, start by becoming a leader, not just a manager.

Check out discounted pricing on Seth’s books here on Amazon.


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