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Inc.: Leader Or Manager? Steve Jobs Had The Definitive Answer

27 Apr 2020
We may just be entering the era of competence. Yes, all the way to the top.

Originally found at Inc. by Chris Matyszczyk

Absurdly Driven usually looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Being a manager isn’t sexy, is it?

The very word conjures a sense of keeping things together, getting by and generally making a system work.

Being a leader, on the other hand, now that’s the apogee of rockstarism.

Leaders are powerful, admired, interviewed and written about. Even their private lives offer a little more gossip fodder. Who ever cared about the private life of a manager?

Yet, especially at a time when every single business principle is being questioned, is it worth wondering whether leaders should also be, well, competent?

I’ve been bathing in a commentary, published in the Academy of Management Discoveries, by INSEAD’s Associate Professor of Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Gianpiero Petriglieri.

It’s a quite wonderful summation of the academic — and practical — schism created to describe those who merely manage and those who get on fine white horses to lead.

Petriglieri explains how research has clearly shown the diminished impression of management:

To be a manager is to be useful, but dispensable. It is no protection against anxiety in the workplace. In many such places, in fact, wanting to be a manager is a questionable aspiration if it is one at all. It is like wanting to be a dinosaur in an age where leaders have the disruptive impact of meteorites.

This has caused a skewing that is surely evident in the way so many organizations are run today. Says Petriglieri:

Preach passion above competence, influence above stewardship, and soon you will find much passion for influence and little competent stewardship at the top of corporations and countries.

Continue reading the original article at Inc.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Discoveries

Read the related Insights Summary


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Gianpiero Petriglieri