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Leadership and Management

We are kicking off this piece with a confession; taking responsibility for our actions and fessing up to our crime. So, you ask; what is this faux pas that we need to own up to? We initially titled this piece ‘Leadership versus Management’.

You might be wondering why that is a big deal. Isn’t that the purpose of writing a draft? To refine ideas and wording as you go? Well, yes, it is. However, this wording is particularly important. Let us explain why.

Whilst it is correct to use the preposition ‘versus’ to compare two things or ideas, it is generally done in the context that you need to choose between the ideas. This suggests an ‘either / or’ contest. In this case that would mean choosing either leadership or management.

Leadership and management are different; however they are also complementary and related. It is not a choice about being a leader or being a manager; we need to wear both hats. We need to be both a leader and a manager; not one or the other. The skill is knowing when to lead and when to manage.

A person becomes a manager by virtue of their position. That is, people work for them. The position provides the manager with legitimate authority to lead (of course there is no assurance that they will be able to lead effectively!).

On the other hand, a person becomes a leader on basis of their personal qualities. That is, people choose to follow them. In this vein management can be thought of as being the head of the operation, whilst leadership is the heart.

Whilst there is a perception that leaders are the cool kids on the block – the change agents with the visions for the future, and managers are the rather boring, nerdy types who meet targets and focus on immediate tasks – leading and managing at the right time helps to meet goals, overcome crises and deliver sustainable growth of a business.

Whilst the mix of management and leadership will necessarily differ from person to person and role to role, there are some situations require a consistent, universal approach.

Management is needed …

  • During a crisis or emergency

A time of crisis is the time to focus; indeed, the human brain is programmed to narrow its focus in a time of threat (it is a survival mechanism). You will need to make immediate choices and allocate resources. The pace is fast, and actions are decisive.

There is a role for leadership but that will come once the immediate ‘threat’ has passed.

  • When inducting and training new team members

Being clear about proper working processes and expectations at the outset will set strong foundations for your new employee and ensure they get up to speed quickly.

  • When working to a deadline or when specific results are required

As its name would suggest, project management is all about managing the workload to ensure projects come in on time and on budget. Project management ensures each team member knows when and how to complete each task, and ensures the expected results are achieved.

There is a caveat here. Project work should not be an excuse for constant management. Successful project execution will also require leadership to inspire creativity and innovation in achieving the outcomes required.

Leadership is needed where… (this is not an exhaustive list!)

  • Team members are experienced and competent

Let experienced and competent members determine the best way to complete their tasks. Focus instead on setting your team up for success by empowering them to make decisions, making it safe for people to speak up, and keeping the team focused on the big picture.

Micromanaging competent team members can destroy trust, make your employees feel unappreciated, and leave them uninspired and bored. Furthermore, it will eat up time that you can spend on other tasks.

  • Team members have specific skills or experience

Learn to recognise and grow unique skills in team members and delegate tasks to those who will handle it best of all. Remember that in delegating a task you are recognising a person’s capacity to complete the task. After giving them responsibility, step back and let them get on with what you have tasked them with doing.

  • New approaches to work are being introduced

When your team is trying an untested approach, you need to step up to the leadership plate. Launch open discussions, listen to ideas, dispel concerns, and show the relevance of new approaches to the goal.

  • The mission and purpose of the organisation is buried under constant work pressures

One of the 12 critical questions for an engaged workplace, according to The Gallup Q12 Engagement survey, is team member’s awareness of the mission and purpose of the organisation. All too often the weight of work and time pressures keeps us blinkered to the ‘bigger picture’ of what we are trying to achieve. We get lost in the weeds (as important as they may seem to be). Good leadership means recognising this and setting up opportunities to communicate “why are we here?” and “why your role is important” with passion and enthusiasm.

 

ASC Training & Development delivers a range of management and leadership courses focused on developing and strengthening the skills needed to thrive in a leadership role.  The programs are suitable for range of skill levels, from experienced leaders to those aspiring to leadership and management roles. Many of our programs are offered as live virtual classrooms.

Further information can be found on our website or feel free to give us a call to discuss your specific needs.