‘Accelerating an organization is never easy’ that is a statement of the obvious from organizational guru John P. Kotter.
While fast changing markets require a new agility and speed, that is a challenge for most organizations. The bigger and more established the organization the greater the acceleration challenge. But, what is the solutions to the acceleration challenge?
One of the key requirements for acceleration is knowing the difference between leadership and management says Kotter’s latest book.
When it comes to accelerating , leadership is ‘the difference that makes a difference’. This truth is evident from Strategy Pitstop® benchmark data which shows that:
– Those organizations that blend leadership and management grow faster (and move faster) than those that don’t.
– Organizations that have failed to add a leadership dimension to the management of the teams fail to exploit the full potential to accelerate .
To understand why this is happening let’s look at the difference between management and leadership in today’s world.
Management is something that we are all very familiar with. When it comes to management the role has traditionally been about; planning, forecasting, reporting and other such activities.
is a high stakes and high risk. It cannot be left to chance. Visibility, predictability and control are hallmarks of a well managed organization.
The organization needs to be tightly run. It needs a minimum level of procedures, systems and controls in order to operate effectively. In particular as the organization grows up (gaining in size and maturity) it has to embed processes, systems and controls. Therein lies a danger – control seems to be addictive in most organizations.
Research by the Boston Consulting Group suggests that management controls have almost tripled in just over a decade. These results would tend to suggest that management is as popular as ever.
The problem is that management procedures and controls don’t help an organizations to accelerate, indeed they are more likely to slow it down.
Controls (although important) often slow things down. That is why managing tends to be good at maintaining the status quo, but lousy at embracing change. The traditional control-based approach, is more likely to hinder rather than accelerate growth.
In recent decades the bar for managers has risen.
Being a good manager is no longer enough. To be great today’s managers must innovate, lead and inspire – these are essential in a fast changing and increasingly competitive marketplace.
Today’s managers are expected to exhibit the qualities of business leaders, such as; Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs. But what is the elusive quality of ‘leadership’?
The difference between managing and leading becomes clear when you look at it this way:
Because is a people business, it cannot just be managed. All those people involved in also need to be led. That is if they are to truly perform. So the question for you is: Are you managing or leading your team?
Here is the new definition of the role of the manager:
A key role of the leader is to get the most from people – to unlock their full potential in the pursuit of organizational goals. That is to help them to succeed at the same time as helping the organization to succeed.
Leadership of the function is about passion, purpose, vision, motivation, empowerment and commitment.
The items listed above are the elements that fuel higher levels of performance from people. They are the X Factor of team performance. But how exactly does that translate into specific activities for the manager who is also a leader?
Relatively speaking managing is ‘easy’. ‘Manager’ is a title that is granted by the organization. However, leadership is not a position, but a privilege earned by those to be led.
Leaders can be measured by the willingness of others to follow (as well as to perform). In this respect it can be considered as the difference between compliance and commitment.
Many managers face challenges of flagging adoption rates in respect of the process and the use of systems – to use just two examples. They know only to well the challenge of compliance and the costs of policing and enforcing it, particularly where levels of commitment are weak.
Making the transition from manager to leader is a major professional and indeed personal growth challenge faced by many managers.
To help you gauge your position along the journey from manager to leader here is a summary of the top 5 differences between the two roles.
Here are some more of the significant differences between managers and leaders:
Why not use the lists above to check on your progression from manager to leader and in particular to identify opportunities to strengthen the leadership dimension of your management role.