What is management?

Seth Godin had a throwaway line in the opening to his “Of Course They Cheated” podcast, but it’s a definition I’ve not heard before and can’t find elsewhere (at least, not this succinctly):

“Management” and “Leadership” are not the same thing.  Management is done with power and authority, compelling others to do what we need them to do when we need them to do it.  Leadership, on the other hand, always involves voluntary compliance.  It always involves people eagerly following the leader.

This is in interesting in and of itself, but Godin goes on to talk about “education.”

And the same dichotomy is true about “learning” and “education.”  Education is often done “to” us.  It is mandatory.  People show up and say “You will learn this and there will be a test.”  That’s different than learning.  Learning is a process we choose to go through.  Learning needs to happen more and more.  There are more “learning opportunities” than ever before.  And yet, too many people are hung up on the “education industrial complex.”

Until age 10 I was in a Montessori school, and then I was “home schooled.”  But mom never liked the term “homeschooling” even though it was the term of art in the 1980s.  She preferred “home education,” noting that if someone wanted his or her children in “school” then why not put them in a school?  This reflects the quote (attributed to Mark Twain, though it predates him) to never let your schooling get in the way of your education… but Godin goes even further, moving “education” from the “learning bucket” into the “schooling bucket.”


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