The transition from being a great individual contributor to being a manager of others requires a shift in perception that is challenging and important to the growth of individuals. The shift from Manager to Leader is an even greater challenge. It is hard sometimes to understand the nature of this transition, to develop critical people management skills in the management arena, which have to change to something qualitatively different in the leadership arena. The differences of Management as a block of competencies and Leadership as a block of competencies looks like this:
Management focuses upon delivering results through people. No longer oneself delivering the results, but motivating, supporting and helping others to deliver their specific contributions to the highest level possible for them. The manager ensures the quality standards that others need to meet, whilst offering coaching, advice and other support to ensure that people are enabled to do so in the most efficient way. Effective delegation, what and how to delegate are sensitive methodologies for how people will not only do their current jobs well, but also to grow and develop the skill-set and competencies of their people.
Managers oversee the people, the processes and the measures in order to ensure that they work effectively together to deliver performance and achieve every improving results. This is often easier said than done, because it often involves understanding different profiles of people, who will come at the work very differently, requiring different style of communication, planning methodologies and ways to challenge under performance. The link between performance and positive feedback needs to be understood and practised in a consistent manner to enhance personal and professional growth.
Management requires understanding the reasons for under performance, planning for performance, using SMART objectives and creating a sense of purpose that engages people more fully. It entails the formation of teams and team dynamics in order to create synergy, collaboration that should lead to high performing teams. Management requires understanding of the stages of team development, with ability to nurture people through challenging change processes and promoting creativity and resourcefulness to generate improved performance.
Leadership focuses on providing vision and direction to people and the organisation. It relies upon leaders’ ability to perceive the unknown – what is yet to come and to provide a vision, perception and tools that may be needed with which to meet the future. It requires strategic thinking, sometimes abstracted from the day to day matters that managers are facing, and consideration of ‘macro’ issues such as organisational structures, incentives and goals and targets that need to be set in order to create a better future.
Leadership calls for risk takers and creatives who will lead their organisation into innovation of new products and services, that will add value to their brand and sales to more customers. Sometimes the innovation addresses how to build systems that will leverage the value that the organisation has already created or leverage the people by re-organising how people work. Leadership by its high-level perspective can disconnect from the day to day issues facing the organisation, but when strategic thinking becomes strategic planning, the connection with management allows the two way dialogue to ensure that what is envisaged by leadership can be implemented by management.
Strategic planning is the point at which the two disciplines can interact and both can put forward their value to bring synergy into the organisation. Management and leadership are vital for the growth and expansion of any business.
6 July 2015