UK: Leaders Inspire, Managers Perspire

Last Updated: 7 August 2001
Article by John Quinton

"It's all rather confusing really ....", Harry Secombe, former and, sadly, now late, Goon.

Most of the Companies I have dealt with in the last 10 years have had weaknesses centred round what has usually been described as, ‘a lack of management experience’. It is usually also the case that they have lacked leadership.

In practice, Leadership and Management are terms used very loosely, often by those who don’t know the, (fundamental), difference between them. Put in business terms, Leadership is what Boards are supposed to provide, and Management is the job of people Boards employ to carry out their policies. But then, Directors are often - and in practice perhaps, are usually - also Managers. ‘Its all rather confusing, really’.

Over-simplifying the difference we could coin a phrase, ‘Leaders inspire, Managers perspire’, as a starting point for the process of reducing the level of confusion - and actually seeing how we improve both leadership and management.

Management can be taught, or so providers of MBA courses think, (even though they confuse Management with Administration - which certainly can be taught.**). There are Businesses, (not to mention the Military), offering ‘leadership’ courses, which, at least so far as those Businesses are concerned, are actually all about team building and not Leadership.

It does not help that the very currency we use to communicate with each other - language, and the meaning of words - has been degraded. The storeman is now a Logistics Manager, the office cleaner a Workplace Hygiene Technician. Everybody in business is now a ‘manager’. And what about a, ‘Director of Rugby’? Perhaps it all started long ago when butchers were first called, ‘Purveyors of Meat’, or rat catchers became, ‘Rodent Operatives’.

However much we degrade a perfectly good language, and no matter to what extent we delude ourselves by changing the meanings of individual words, we still need Real Leaders to Lead and Real Managers to Manage in most business activities. So we do need to know the difference, and how to produce at least some of their qualities in those who run businesses.

Real Leaders.

Hitler might have been evil, but he was also a very successful leader, regardless of the colour of his shirt, and so was Napoleon - though neither was much good at much else.

A soldier who was a rotten shot, a poor rider, 5 foot 4 tall, had an over developed sense of smell, scratched his spots and spoke French with an Italian accent became an Emperor.

Millions died because of Hitler, and a surprisingly large number for him.

And how did they become leaders? Well, they were not born to it, (unlike, perhaps, Wellington or Alexander the Great), but they knew what the people they needed to use wanted for themselves, whether it was riches or salvation, and they made sure they got it.

At a business level that reduces to being aware of your staff’s personal aspirations and creating a pathway to their achievement. Do that and they will, using the degraded currency of the language, die for you. Unfortunately, if you want to be a leader you have to create, at the same time, the wherewithal to acquire the resources to pay the rewards. If you want to be a ‘leader’ without accepting that responsibility go into politics, and not into business. Which brings us to Management.

Real Managers.

Essentially Managers manage people, (Human Resources, no less!), to achieve what is required of them. And people need to be motivated to achieve goals. It is no good just telling them what you want, or yelling. So Managers are also motivators.

They don’t have to be Leaders, and sometimes it is better that they are not. An organisation needs to have its actions directed by reason, not faith, if team objectives are to be realised and the potential of plans fulfilled.

Employees need a sense of purpose just as much as an Employer does, though it will be a different one.

Employers and employees also need to derive satisfaction from what they do - to achieve what is now called ‘self esteem’.

The clues to good management are all here, and there is no mystery or secret ingredient. At least, I have not found one after looking for it for 45 years.

Reduced to its essentials the technique for good management requires the ability to communicate - not by writing instructions, though they will also be necessary - but by treating subordinates as fellow humans rather than as some kind of humanoid sub-species. Do that and the rewards will be handsome. It is amazing how many great ideas lie in the minds of those who are, ‘not paid to think’, and how easy it is to access them with the right approach*.

Employees worry about their job security. Like all of us they have obligations they are responsible enough to want to meet. So the first thing they need is a sense of security. Give them whatever support they, (or you), think they need to do their jobs properly.

Good management arises from good relationships, and cannot be forced. Most people need to feel a sense of ‘team’, regardless of whether they are at the top or the bottom of the heap, and if you don’t create one for them which binds them to you they will join one anyway - which might work against you.

Accept that employees are people with legitimate interests other than in working for/with you. They all have homes to go to. ‘How was the holiday?’ ’Is your wife better now?’ This is not intrusion on their privacy; it is natural interest - simple humanity - and will be valued as such.

If you want somebody to do something for you, bear in mind the above consolidated wisdom that can be reduced still further to:

Explain what you want your employee/subordinate to do, why you want it done and when it must be completed. If he asks for help give it. But don’t tell him how to do it unless he asks specifically for that. (But after an appropriate interval check that he has done it!)


* I once knew a factory cleaner who had the answer to a major continuous process production problem. The only chance he had to communicate this was to the Group Chairman who, in the break during the crisis meeting convened to find, (but failing to find), the answer, wandered onto the shop floor and fell into conversation with him when he needed a light for his cigarette. The cleaner mentioned that, during heavy rain, the flat roof over the dry powder hopper leaked a little. This is merely one silly, (and true), story of this kind - which is repeated regularly, manifesting itself in different ways in different companies.

** A monkey, ‘Administers’, a barrel organ when he turns its handle. The monkey needs to be, ‘Managed’.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.