Walt at Random

Management and leadership

When the Library Leadership Network began, it was mostly about management–and much of the management literature uses terms leadership and management interchangeably.

Over time, I’ve tried to distinguish the two. The standard shorthand for that distinction is, I think, a bit too simple:

Managers get things done right. Leaders find the right things to do.

Another simple distinction is that managers have subordinates, while leaders have (willing) followers. If you have subordinates who wouldn’t willingly follow you, you may be a manager but you’re not a leader–and you can be a leader without ever managing anybody. (“Thought leaders” in particular may have millions of followers but may never have managed anyone in their lives.) So far, two essays directly discuss the distinction

The wiki currently has 66 articles tagged with the Leadership category, 52 tagged with Management. Of the 52, only 18 are also tagged for Leadership–so there’s relatively little overlap between the two (perhaps less than there should be).

Most of the new material this week falls squarely into the Management category. There’s a new article “On orientation and retention,” concerning how library managers should make new hires part of the team. A new section of “Management notes” discusses the somewhat heretical possibility that most “secrets of success” management books–the ones that supposedly prove why certain companies do better than others–may be fatally flawed and that luck may be a key reason companies succeed. And there’s a wonderful life story added to “Qualities of successful managers,” leading up to the importance for managers of stepping outside your comfort zone.

Material aimed at leaders–including managers who lead and leaders who aren’t managers–covers a much broader area, most of it not tagged in the Leadership category. One addition this week adds some interesting (or bemusing) items to “Leader’s guide to open everything,” an overview article that points to some of LLN’s coverage of open access and open source–but also to a rather large set of other concepts aiming for the positive influence of the “open” label. Being “open” may sound great–but it doesn’t necessarily mean free, and sometimes not even all that open.


  1. #1 Comrade PhysioProf
    June 22, 2009

    Wow! That wiki is chock full of great fucking ideas for managers/leaders in all sorts of enterprises, not just librarians!

    Are you aware of Scott Berkun’s work on project management and team leasdership? His stuff is outstanding.


  2. #2 Walt Crawford
    June 22, 2009

    I’ll take a look at Scott Berkun’s work. And thanks for the note; while library issues are featured, there’s no secret handshake or other restriction–anyone who finds the material useful is welcome to use it.

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