Jeffrey Hayzlett

By Jeffrey Hayzlett

What’s the Difference Between Leadership and Management? Learn the Difference from Former NFL QB, Tom Flick

What’s the Difference Between Leadership and Management? Learn the Difference from Former NFL QB, Tom Flick 150 150 jeffreyhayzlett

Is being an NFL quarterback really that different from leading a business? Maybe. Former quarterback Tom Flick joined the C-Suite Network Digital Discussion to discuss the similarities and why many of us don’t understand the difference between leadership and management.


You’re about to read a portion of our conversation.


(Questions and answers have been edited for clarity)


Jeffrey Hayzlett: Change is hard for everyone. It’s tough. And we’ve been going through a lot of change here lately and I think his country is due for a lot more change when it comes to a lot of other issues. So, what are the dynamics of change that everyone should understand in order to evaluate their own leadership styles?


Tom Flick: Great question. Since, I (was) a young kid I’ve loved the topic of leadership.

I told my father…(when) I was like an eighth grader. “Dad, (in the huddle) 10 faces are looking at me and they want to know something, they want to be inspired, and they want to be led.”


I think with the ever-increasing rates of change that we have now in America, of how fast competition is, we’re globalized. It’s this leadership versus management distinction that I think is really critical to understand. People might think that’s not that big of a deal, but actually it is when you come to realize the research has found out that we’re over managed and under led by a factor of almost four to one in corporate America. It’s tough going 40 miles an hour when your competition’s going 80 and the reason why that is, is because of leadership.


I think the leadership and management distinction is because the default setting in our brains is essentially management, if you think about it. We manage just about everything. We manage our diet, our calendar, our workflow, our exercise. We manage, manage, manage. We really have developed managerial mindsets over the last century. The reason is because an entrepreneur or leader or inventor creates a product and they build that product to a point where they can start a business. There’s interest in that business. So, you need managers to go ahead and run the business.


If you look at the educational systems here and in Europe predominantly over the last century. It’s been management driven.


Management is an amazing set of actions and behaviors; it’s given us the modern-day corporation. It’s budgeting, staffing, controlling, planning, smart problem solving. Henry Ford did us an amazing favor by perfecting management, but there’s a there’s a rub. There’s a problem and that is it management doesn’t move us forward, simply because that’s not its job.


Management’s job is to take complexity and make it simple or make it repeatable. Where leadership is wholly different. Leadership is about speed and agility. Leadership is vision and strategy. It’s communicating vision and strategy. It’s motivating action. It’s creating by in. It’s inspiring people. Essentially leadership is taking complex systems in people and creating innovation opportunities and growth.


Where management is taking complex systems and people and making them run like they’re intended to run Hour after hour, day after day efficiently and effectively. And that works is what causes speed.


leadership creates agility and speed for management keeps things the same, it creates status quo, essentially. So, I think understanding that distinction because most senior leaders that I work with are stuck in management values management speak.


They’ll talk about controlling instead of aligning they’ll talk about planning instead of visioning and that’s a huge distinction and it makes it a real big difference on where your company’s going and how fast you can get there.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Tom, I’m sitting here listening to you. You don’t sound like a football player.


And I don’t mean that to be derogatory. I mean, that to be very enlightening. I mean, you sound like a real deep thinker. I mean, did you always have that or is this a critical skill or something you’ve kind of learned as you as you gotten older and more experienced?


Tom Flick: You know, Jeffrey, when I when I was a kid and playing quarterback…I think what I liked is the job of a quarterback, if you broke it down, was to energize people. You get inside of a huddle…just play a hypothetical with me.


A guy left tackle it gets out of a stance late and the defensive end sacks the quarterback. The running back misses the read and gets stuffed. (The) receiver drops to pass, QB sails the ball over someone’s head. And to get into a huddle of 10 men who are black, white, different socioeconomic backgrounds, belief systems, experiences, and yet we’re bonded together by the color of the uniform and the mascot name that we play for.


The job of a quarterback has to step into a huddle and, I gotta tell you, these 10 guys are waiting for it. They’re expecting it. They’re expecting you to focus their energy. That’s the job of a quarterback for one simple purpose. It’s to win the next play. Not to win three plays down the road. It’s just to win one play at a time because great leaders and great teams stack one winning play on top of another winning play.


So, I’ve always had this desire to learn. I just been a voracious lifelong learner and book reader.


These are only a few insights that he shared with our audience. For the full discussion, listen to the episode of “All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett” here.

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