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What Leaders Really Do

In: Business and Management

Submitted By 99031218
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What Leaders
Really Do

They don't make plans; they
The article reprinted here stands on its

don't solve problems; they

own, ofcourse, but it can also be seen

don't even organize people.

as a crucial contribution to a debate that

What leaders really do is

began in 1977. when Harvard Business

prepare organizations for

School professor Abraham Zaleznik

change and help them cope

published an HBR article with the

as they struggle through it

deceptively mild title "Managers and
Leaders: Are They Different?" The piece caused an uproar in business schools. It argued that the theoreticians of scientific management, with their organizational diagrams and time-and-motion studies, were missing half the picture-the half filled with inspiration, vision, and the full spectrum of human drives and desires. The study of leadership hasn't been the same since.
"What Leaders Really Do" first published im99O, deepens and extends the insights ofthe 1977 article. Introducing one of those brand-new ideas that seems obvious once it's expressed, retired Harvard Business School professor John Kotter proposes that management and leadership are different but complementary, and that in a changing world, one cannot function withoutthe other. He then enumerates and contrasts the primary tasks ofthe manager and the leader. His key point bears repeating: Managers promote stability while leaders press for change, and only organizations that embrace both sides of that contradiction can thrive in turbulent times.


by John P. Kotter



I management, but not for the rea^ ^ sons most people think. Leadership isn't mystical and mysterious. It has nothing to do with having "charisma" or other exotic personality traits. It is not the province of a...

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