The Difference between Management & Leading Change, Seth Godin

Leadership, what is it? Does it really exist, or is it really just another form of management, one that refrains from using implied power, as Peter Drucker has described it?

This interview of Seth Godin features managing vs. leading, specifically leading change. Seth is a well-known speaker and social media author who writes about building community, including the well known book Tribes.  He understands community.

Note:  This post was updated from 2011 to 2013 with addition of updated links and Seth’s quotes.


“Leadership is embracing the failure of your people that means growth.    …Am I helping someone grow in a quantum way?”


Click to play Seth’s video, mobile friendly:

>>> Managing & Leading, Interview with Seth Godin

Regardless of what you use to define leadership, Seth Godin demonstrates his compelling storytelling passion and focus on how leaders can be remarkable. He also mentions features of leading through change successfully.

I discovered Seth’s video via a change management group on LinkedIn. It remains fresh.


“20,000 shoe stores (already) in the United States, and then there was Zappos.” – Seth Godin


It is why social media, with its natural ability to form organic, niche groups, enjoys tremendous growth and demonstrates staying power, from 2008 when twitter was just an egg, to a Facebook / LinkedIn savvy multigenerational tribes now.

eth Godin at MIT, photo by C.C. Chapman, Flickr

eth Godin at MIT, photo by C.C. Chapman, Flickr

Here are some quotable gems that reveal Seth’s talent for understanding change, disruption and the need to understand forming, giving to and sustaining community, from Seth’s books as listed:

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another.  A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. …Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more.  People want connection and growth and something new. They want change. …You can’t have a tribe without a leader – and you can’t be a leader without a tribe. ~ Tribes

The linchpin is an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen. Every worthwhile institution has indispensable people who make differences like these.  ~ Linchpin

Our job is to make change. Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go. Every time we waste that opportunity, every page or sentence that doesn’t do enough to advance the cause is waste.  ~ Linchpin

As our society gets more complex and our people get more complacent, the role of the jester is more vital than ever before.  Please stop sitting around. We need you to make a ruckus.  ~  Linchpin 

Hope without a strategy doesn’t generate leadership. Leadership comes when your hope and your optimism are matched with a concrete vision of the future and a way to get there.  People won’t follow you if they don’t believe you can get to where you say you’re going. ~ Tribes

To find out more about concrete ways to get there, click on Deb’s blog posts about change including:


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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