Leadership and management are two different things. While a manager works within the system following the accepted practices of the system, a leader determines where the organization needs to be, and then does what is necessary to get there. In a business context, leadership is the ability to build the commitment of employees, to endow an organization with a positive perception of itself, and to give employees a positive perception of their role within the business.
While programming experience, technical prowess, and management ability may be important qualifications for top-level IT management, leadership ability is the critical element.
Traditional management techniques focus on employee behavior, not the employee. Feelings of achievement, recognition for good work, and a sense of meaningful professional advancement are foreign to many workers, as managers do not know how to make employees feel valuable. Without such messages, it is impossible to build employee commitment.
Too many managers lack the formal training, or sometimes even the common sense, to understand that most employees need realistic feedback on their performance. While performance appraisals can be used as a tool to encourage better work behavior, true leaders provide this type of feedback, naturally, in their day-to-day action.