Leading Versus Managing

By Hubert Yoshida posted 04-30-2021 18:03

Before I joined the Corporate world, I spent six years in the Marine Corps. After several years as an enlisted man I was commissioned as an officer and my first assignment was as the platoon leader of a rifle platoon of 46 men. That is a very coveted job and only the top graduates of the Marine Officers Basic School could be considered for that position, since it is a leadership position.

Two Marine Corp veterans, Dan Carrison and  Rod Walsh, explain what Marines mean by leadership and how it contrasts with a corporate term “Management”. I would like to share this with my Hitachi Colleagues.

One of the words you will never hear a Marine Corps officer, sergeant, or drill instructor use is, “Manage”. In fact, the word is treated with such abhorrence, it is often referred to as the “M Word”. That is because Marines are trained to lead, not to manage.

Now, to those of us who are managers, the distinction may not be so obvious. Here, then, is a few of the differences between “managing” and “leading” as seen from the Marine Corps perspective.

Managers push their people.
Leaders pull theirs by sheer force of personal example.

Managers order their personnel to get the job done.
Leaders inspire their personnel to get the job done.

Managers build a fire under your butt.
Leaders build a fire in your belly.

“Hands on” managers cultivate obedience.
“Hands off” leaders cultivate independence and resourcefulness.

Managers consider themselves part of an exclusive club.
Leaders maintain the respect and fellowship of the rank and file.

Managers accept credit for the success of their subordinates.
Leaders turn away from the spotlight, letting it shine upon those they have the honor to lead.

When a project turns sour, the manager asks, “Who is responsible?”
Leaders say “I am.”

You work overtime for a manager;
You work all the time for a leader.

Managers need to constantly make their presence known.
Leaders inspire from afar - even from the grave.

We hope this has given you an idea of why Marines will never use the “M Word”. But before you despair, we do believe that Marine officers, sergeants, and drill instructors would be very impressed by the new breed of managers, leading the corporate mission, in today’s workplace.

Now and then, though, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves of the differences between the “M Word” and the “L Word”

When I review these concepts I believe these leadership principals are incorporated in our Hitachi Corporate philosophy of:

Wa - Harmony

Makoto - Sincerity

Kaitakusha-Seishin – Pioneering Spirit