|Since the turn of the century, there’s been a progressive shift from managing to leading. A generation ago there was still debate in management consulting circles over which approach was best: the manager approach or the leader approach? Supervisors were large and in charge, not necessarily walking soft, but always carrying a big stick. Subordinates were expected to nod and take orders.|
Clearly though, there was a recurring question …
“Isn’t it better to lead by example and work together toward common goals, than have a subservient relationship where employees achieve results primarily out of fear of consequences?”
As the answer to this question shifted more and more towards ‘Yes,’ the supervisor’s role moved from management to become focused on true leadership.
Management versus Leadership
What’s the difference? In the simplest of terms, a leader is self-aware.
An accomplished leader:
– knows what she is capable of accomplishing
– understands her own strengths and weaknesses
– knows how to recognize strengths and weaknesses in others
– can leverage these together for the betterment of the team
– is in touch with the latest communication channels and management tools
– knows how to use these channels in creative ways to achieve the best results
– is focused on example-setting
– demonstrates the corporate culture through her own actions.
Based on this information, it’s probably pretty easy to see why the shift occurred— a leader just sounds like a more pleasant person to work for.
However, the downside is also easy to see. Many leadership-focused supervisors wind up as friends instead of authority figures. This makes it very difficult for both sides of the table when a heavier hand is needed.
Merging Management and Leadership
The fix? Merging the two approaches, which must begin with the CEO.
Manage by instructing while also showing leadership by demonstrating.
Here’s how the merged CEO’s role would look:
– Establishing the guidelines in both word and action.
– Enforcing the role of authority while also setting an example that tells others to ‘do as I do.’
– Taking the time to understand staff members, their personal career goals, and how they work on a daily basis, so you can get the most from their performance.
– Understanding when it’s time to make the tough call— whether it be an operational decision to close a facility, or just to make a management change. The key is to do so strategically and consistently.
– Exuding passion and commitment in everything you do. Whether it’s an act of management or leadership, carrying it out with the passion you have for your job and the organization is imperative to recruiting and keeping loyal and hardworking teams.
Not only should you be abiding by these guidelines, but also encouraging your team to operate in the same way.
Model the balance by ‘show and tell’. Be a good manager by telling your team how to go about achieving this blend the right way. And be a good leader by showing the balance regularly.