Monday Mornings with Madison

The Many Facets of Leadership

Word Count:  1034 

Estimated Read Time:  4  min.

Part 2 – Managing

Imagine that a company or business is like a boat and the boat has a destination… the port of profitability and growth.  On the left side of the boat are the Marketing oars.  On the right side of the boat are its Sales oars.  If only the left oars are rowing, the boat will go around in circles, clockwise.  And if only the right oars are rowing, the boat will go in counter-clockwise circles.  Even if both sets of oars are rowing, but not in tandem, the boat will not move in the intended direction very swiftly.  But if both sets of oars row in tandem, the boat will move forward.  If guided by someone who knows the destination, it will move toward that spot.  And the faster and more efficiently they row in tandem, the more swiftly it will get to its destination.  The process of getting all the oars to row in tandem, efficiently and effectively, to a particular designation is management.  Getting there faster than the competition is good management.  And leadership is the wind in the sails of the vessel, which can help propel it even farther and faster.  If the leadership is strong and steady, the work of the sales and marketing teams is made easier, and everything glides forward quickly.

Great leaders make the difference between an average performance and an extraordinary one.  Today’s leaders do many things, including coaching, mentoring, counseling and, of course, managing.  Employees today expect people in leadership roles to be willing to roll their sleeves up and keep managing and facilitating.  In practical terms, what does good management look like today?  It is more than just someone telling someone else what to do.

What Does Good Management Look Like?

While leadership and management go hand in hand, the two words are not synonymous.  They are linked and complementary, but they are not the same thing.  However, any effort to separate the two, in today’s economy, does more harm than good.  A leader must be able to manage, but a manager is not always a leader.  A manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. A leader goes beyond that to inspire and motivate.  But today’s leader must manage, as well as inspire and motivate.

There have been countless books on management as well as on leadership, but Warren Bennis did a nice job of listing the differences between management and leadership in his book “On Becoming a Leader” (1989).  Here are just some of the differences:

  • A manager administers.  A leader innovates.
  • A manager is a copy.  A leader is an original.
  • A manager maintains.  A leader develops.
  • A manager focuses on systems and structure.  A leader focuses on people.
  • A manager seeks to control.  A leader seeks to inspire trust.
  • A manager has a short-range, immediate view.  A leader has a long-range perspective.
  • A manager asks how and when.  A leader asks what and why.
  • A manager keeps his eye on the bottom line.  A leader keeps his eye on the horizon.
  • A manager imitates. A leader originates.
  • A manager accepts the status quo. A leader challenges it.
  • A manager is the classic good soldier.  A leader is his or her own person.
  • A manager does things right.  A leader does the right thing.

A century ago, the jobs of manager and leader could be separated.  Back then, a plant manager at an automobile production line or a factory foreman in a textile mill probably didn’t need to give a great deal of thought to exactly what was being produced or to the people producing it.   Workers acted like cogs in the machinery.  One worker could be removed and replaced at the drop of a hat.  A manager’s job back then was to follow his marching orders.  His day consisted of organizing the work, assigning the necessary tasks to the right people, coordinating the desired results, and ensuring that the job was done as ordered on time.  The focus was on efficiency.

In today’s “new economy”, value is increasingly derived from the knowledge of people.  Employees are no longer undifferentiated cogs in an industrial machine.  In this economy, management and leadership are interconnected.  Employees look to their managers, not just to assign them a task, but to define for them a purpose. And managers must organize work and workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, inspire results and develop talent.  An employee cannot just be removed and replaced so easily since usually he brings a particular skill set, training and knowledge that may not be found readily in another person.

Peter Drucker, sales and management guru of the 20th century, was one of the first to acknowledge this reality.  He was on the forefront of highlighting the rise of the “knowledge worker.”   He foresaw the profound differences this would generate in the way business was organized.  “One does not ‘manage’ people,” explained Drucker.  “The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.”  He was right that leaders don’t just manage.  But managing is one facet of leadership.

Among the many things a leader does, he must manage.  In that facet of the job, he must:

  • encourage continuous improvement
  • set goals that align with the company’s strategic mission
  • clarify what constitutes quality work
  • define individual jobs/roles
  • define tasks
  • delegate tasks
  • ensure results
  • define key result areas
  • encourage innovation
  • reward creativity
  • lead by example
  • match his own management style to the employee’s skills and experience
  • ensure everyone works in harmony in order to achieve maximum efficiency
  • manage performance evaluations

Of course, a leader’s role is not just to manage.  With a more sophisticated and educated workforce that is constantly looking for opportunities for growth in overlapping professional and personal spheres, today’s leaders must be dynamic, flexible and adaptable to attract, manage, retain and grow top talent.  He must also challenge and grow his team.  Gone are the days of the autocratic and critical manager.

It is important to remember that a leader’s job includes many facets, a key part of which is to manage the work.  But managing work is only one facet of the role of leader.

Quote of the Week

“Early on I realized that I had to hire people smarter and more qualified than I was in a number of different fields, and I had to let go of a lot of decision-making. I can’t tell you how hard that is. But if you’ve imprinted your values on the people around you, you can dare to trust them to make the right moves.” Howard Schultz, Pour Your Heart Into It:  How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

 


 

© 2017, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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