Idan Cohen on How Leadership and Management Job Skills Compare

In Chapter 17 of 19 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, Boxee co-founder and head of product Idan Cohen answers "How Do Leadership and Management Differ With What You Do?"  Cohen shares his struggle to become a better leader and a better manager.  He notes the importance of motivation and vision in leadership and details and composure in management. 

This is Idan Cohen's Year 1 Capture Your Flag interview.  Cohen is co-founder and head of product at Boxee Inc, an online video software company.  Previous to Boxee, Cohen held telecom software innovation and developer roles at Comverse.  He was a Captain in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and graduated from Tel Aviv University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Geophysics and Art.


Erik Michielsen: How do leadership and management differ in what you do?

Idan Cohen: Management is definitely something that I struggle with daily and leadership is something that I struggle with daily. Leadership is about being just a little bit mad, you know if you think about it, like going and wanting to be the president of the US, you have to be not a little bit, you have to be really, really, crazy in order to take on such a role, and go through the process of doing something like that, the thing that sometimes it’s also the same for a small company, it’s just coming up with a vision, being able to motivate people, so that’s not easy but it comes a lot of times for just being able to put away—put aside your fears or overcome them, put aside logic or overcome logic, and go and make that happen. 

Management is a much more I think kind of a methodical or a skill, sometimes you might have, sometimes people definitely have it inherit in them and sometimes they acquire it with time, but I think it has a lot to do with—and it sometimes is very different than leadership because it’s much more about listening, leadership is a little bit of also just like blindly looking forward and being able to charge and motivate people just to come after you, but then at the end of the day, management is not about just this motivation, it’s about taking care of the details, it’s about knowing how to politically split responsibilities, it’s about stepping down when needed, and actually helping doing something, just because you’re a little bit of kind of like, you have all of these skills together and you can help with whatever needed, definitely at early stages of a company. 

So I think that there’s a lot of great leaders, there’s—and visionaries, there’s not enough good managers, and it’s definitely something that I would aspire to be. I think I’m very far from it right now.