Home / Featured / Leadership vs. Management: Why it matters in Admin hire

Leadership vs. Management: Why it matters in Admin hire

Operating a $500 million plus annual budget, leading a team of one of the largest employers in the county, and deciding what resources are a top priority is certainly a job for a leader. Navigating a lawsuit with the City of Myrtle Beach while finding resources to replace the over $41 million raided by local governments is a monumental task as well.

What is the role of a local government? In short, what should government be doing and NOT be doing?

Too many government bureaucrats have the wrong idea that government should and can do everything.

In trying to do everything, proper planning is the one thing those governments often miss the mark on.

Too often, local municipalities make the wrong choice of hiring a first rate manager into their top tier executive leadership position.

What are the differences between a leader and a manager?

ProjectManager.com is just one of many consulting groups that explain those different roles and why each are necessary.

Great leaders focus on WHAT. What matters first.

Leaders are big picture choice makers that work and delegate through teams. Great leaders know that resources such as money, time, and people are always scarce.

How leaders define the role of what government should be doing, and what government’s first priorities should be, are always, by default, top mind-present in how these people naturally operate.


Fortunately for Horry County Council, we have two well known examples of great leadership right here in Horry County.

Richardson could run state government, county government or any government for that matter. And he would likely do a better job than any person he could possibly replace.

Richardson focuses on:

  1. Communication: The ability to disseminate information and listen actively.
  2. MotivationGetting people to want to do what you need them to do.
  3. Delegation: Knowing that you can’t do everything and trusting others to help you carry the load by completing assigned tasks.
  4. Positivity: Keeping a positive attitude, regardless of the situation, helps with morale.
  5. Trustworthiness: People aren’t going to listen to you or do what you ask if you don’t first instill a sense of trust.
  6. CreativityThere will always be problems that can’t be solved by rote; you must think creatively and be open to taking chances. Employ divergent thinking to find unique solutions.
  7. Feedback: Leadership doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Listen to your team, stakeholders, advisors, mentors, etc., and take their opinions seriously.
  8. ResponsibilityYou can’t expect people to follow you if you’re not taking responsibility for the bigger picture and your behavior.
  9. Commitment: You also cannot expect to lead others if you are not committed to the project.
  10. FlexibilityThings change, and rigidity can ruin a project, so you must be willing to adapt and not hold too tightly to anything.

The key things that set Richardson apart are the very things we have highlighted in italics. Richardson is so excellent at motivation, he can often rally his very own former enemies into getting behind the ideas he champions. CREATIVITY is often what really separates a leader from a manager. Managers, (whose chief concern is HOW…), will often stick with their written plan even when circumstances on the ground have dynamically shifted as they did earlier this Spring when city governments raided the county’s hospitality tax.

Richardson and Jones lead by:

Each of these leaders are key on taking and accepting responsibility. Residents, teachers, and staff can count on them and those very different constituents each know it.

While Richardson and Jones are truly nice people, they privately do not suffer half-hearted employees well. Shirk in your responsibilities on their team, if you like, but count on them to not shirk on theirs, meaning your time on this team will be short and swift.

Each of these leaders are very flexible in the way they go about government. We live in a highly technical, highly interruptive age. Dr. Henry Cloud says, “Integrity is the ability to meet the demands of reality.”

No one in Horry County can better meet reality, nor has more integrity than these two.


There is certainly nothing wrong with great managers. Horry County needs great managers. Managers concern themselves ongoing with the HOW question. How do we do that?

Steve Gosnell is an excellent example of a world class manager. An engineer by craft, Steve is excellent at details and great at solving government related budgetary and other puzzles. Most government managers tend to operate, however, as if all resources are endless and that conditions on the ground are not going to change.

Both of these assumptions are always wrong.

Horry County at a cross roads

GROWTH passed on to the public

Horry County has been mismanaged for over a decade by two leaders who definitely had the gift of leadership, but also lead in ways that were often either self interested or in the interests of a select, few only.

As such, our 24% ongoing annual growth rate in new county residents was not properly charged for so as to accommodate that growth. This has lead to a myriad of now costs and problems. Hard choices must be made that will require the utmost in leadership.


The culture of serving and protecting the entitled few is still prevalent among certain members on County Council.

Only bold leadership can build such a consensus among residents who live equally in the county, as well as, every day, non elitist residents who live along the coast.


The process established by Horry County Council Chairman Gardner is needed so that both council and residents can separate leaders possessing integrity from those who have none, as well as, separate leaders from managers.


Make no mistake about it, hard questions will be asked to all candidates.


As a long-standing State Representative, Alan Clemmons is the father of Myrtle Beach’s TDF (Tourist Tax). He wrote the law that brought the tax into existence.

The controversial law has never once faced a referendum vote. Clemmons also wrote the provision in the law that worked around the need for a public referendum. Clemmons also lobbied and supported the law after it was initially put into place.

He wrote an extension of the law just two years ago with full knowledge that MBACC had no legal accountability in place as to how the funds were being spent or as to how effective the return on those tax payer monies was being monitored.

Even after MBACC admitted it was funding the tax dollars through 8 crony companies the Chamber created, Clemmons sat on his hands as for writing new legislation to hold the Chamber and the city of Myrtle Beach accountable.

If Mr. Clemmons does not expect tough questions on the merits of his actions here, he should not have applied for the job.

We note that like Mr. Gosnell, Clemmons also has the gift of Management and not the gift of Leadership. For those who wish to learn more, about the 16 different personality types, click here.


As Clemmons is surely the father of the TDF, Gray was certainly one of the doctors who delivered the baby. He was a key leader in championing the tax ensuring it became law. As a city councilman, Gray did nothing to ensure performance goals, accountability, nor transparency was any part of the TDF legislation. With taxation and budgeting being key elements of the County Administrative position, Gray is surely prepared for explaining his actions here. He will certainly be asked.

GOSNELL – A Manager, not a leader

Horry County needs a leader to help define the role of what county government should be doing, but even more so, what county government should NOT be doing.

Ask a manager what time it is and he will tell you how to build a watch.

We have covered this topic fully now. Gosnell makes an excellent number two, which is the position he previously held.

If you want to learn more about the difference in a manager versus a leader, click here.

MyrtleBeachSC news is not familiar with the other candidates who have applied.

As the interview process is key here, we plan to reserve our full judgement on all until the process is complete.

We do ask County Council to respect the citizens.

We deserve the same kind of leadership the Treasurer’s office and the Horry County School board enjoy.

Please note, residents put those two in office. We do know how to pick leaders.



About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

Check Also

District 9 will elect a new Horry County Councilman

Today marks 14 days until the June 9th primaries. District 9 will be a key …