Words From The Wise
“If there is a clear distinction between the processes of managing and the process of leading it is between getting others to do - managing - and getting others to want to do - leading.”
- James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.“ - Peter Drucker
Managerial effectiveness is defined by the extent to which you achieve the output requirements of your role. Dr. Bill Reddin – Management Guru and Druckerian
Leadership vs. Management
By all accounts, and based on the wisdom of these great management gurus, the battle between Leadership and Management has been fought and lost. In truth, the importance lies not so much in the difference between leadership and management, but rather in the difference between leadership processes and management processes.
Take a look at what Peter and Bill are saying. At the end of the day, a leader and a manager are measured by the same stick – results. The extent to which an individual has mastered the skills and processes of leadership and of management defines whether they achieved those results as a leader or a manager or both.
One’s career journey must therefore be balanced around the development of skills within both sets of processes. The ultimate goal of every ambitious manager and aspiring executive should be: to master the processes of both leadership and management. Here’s your crash course on what that means…
Introspective Reflection Process: Leaders get their inspiration from their deepest and most heartfelt values and aspirations. They spend a long time contemplating the meaning and purpose of their life, and the vision they have for improving the lives of others.
Strategic Planning Process: Leaders engage their followers by:
- Communicating their Vision and seeking acceptance from their teams
- Orchestrating conversations to create focus and clarity around the Vision
- Generating consensus towards quantifiable goals, and specific actions and initiatives for achieving the Vision
Resource Allocation Process: Leaders spend hours analyzing and refocusing resources towards the activities of the Vision.
In a nutshell, leadership processes are geared towards listening to one’s heart, listening to one’s team, communicating well, and focusing resources on one common goal.
Performance Management Processes: Managers ensure that individual team members have measurable goals that are aligned with the team’s and/or organization’s Vision. They then go about coaching their team members towards attaining their performance goals.
Hiring and Termination Processes: Managers spend much time accessing the part of themselves that stores courage. They show courage in the hiring process – taking a chance on an unknown person. They show courage in the termination process – cutting loose the individuals who are not furthering the team’s goals. They make hard decisions.
Continuous Improvement Processes: Managers are responsible for the ongoing continuous improvement of the organization’s business and operational processes. It is through managers that organizations find efficiencies and increased profitability. Managers spend their time assessing the speed and quality of the business processes, and engaging the workforce in finding better and faster ways of doing business and creating products.
Management processes are focused on modifying human behaviour towards the vision and goals of the team. These processes involve goal setting, coaching, decision-making and process improvement.
The true difference between leaders and managers, therefore, is not in the characteristics of who they are, but rather in the activities they attend to and the skills they’ve acquired. If that is the case, then some people become great leaders before they become great managers, and some people become great managers before they become great leaders. What matters most is the training, development and personal evolution that occurs along the way.