Career advice: Managing vs. leading

Premier 100 IT Leader Michael Capone also answers questions on getting an MBA and the single most important issue that IT departments face

Mike Capone
Michael Capone of ADP

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader
Michael Capone
Corporate vice president and CIO
Company: Automatic Data Processing

Capone is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about what separates a leader from a manager, pursuing business education and the issue that all IT organizations should be addressing. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to

How does a good manager become a leader? Managing and leading have virtually nothing to do with one another. Managing implies supervision and providing direction, both which are of course necessary activities in any organization. Leading is all about creating a vision that is so compelling people will follow you without the exercise of any formal authority. We assume that it is a natural progression for managers to become leaders, but this is often not the case. Many of the most extraordinary acts of leadership I have witnessed have come from people who had no management responsibility whatsoever.

I'm thinking about pursuing an MBA. What should I study? Finance. Strong financial skills are always valuable in business and are a great compliment to technical knowledge.

What major issues should an IT department be planning to address in the coming year? Year after year, the answer to this question never changes for me. There is only one issue that IT departments should be addressing: Is IT able to make a material contribution to the advancement of your organization's business strategy? Confronting this issue may lead to some interesting decisions around analytics, the cloud and many other areas.

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