Leadership and Management
Posted on June 4, 2013 Comments (7)
I don’t think the attempts to separate leadership and management are useful. I read plenty of things that are variations on Peter Drucker’s:
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
A manager that is not concerned about doing the right things is a lousy manager. And a leader that doesn’t care about doing things right is a lousy leader.
Another theme of this contrasting type quote says some version of:
“Managers care about efficiency and leaders care about effectiveness”
A manager who doesn’t strive to be effective is also a lousy manager. It is also odd to suppose the detached leader (the type that lets the manager deal with the mundane while they dream), one that doesn’t concern themselves with customer focus, value chains, going to the gemba really has a clue about effectiveness. The idea seems mainly to view a manager is a cog looking at some tiny process and making it efficient without understanding the organization as a system or value chains or customer focus.
I think, the main problem is all of the attempts to contrast leaders and managers. Much of the time people are saying managers don’t do things they certainly should be doing.
The desire to express how leadership traits can be used by those without organizational authority are useful. Discussion of how certain traits can be seen as within the domain of leadership I suppose may be useful (it can help our minds see how various traits and practices combine to help get results – and we can categorize these under “leadership”).
Leaders that are primarily “big thinkers” and motivators without a clue about how to actually do the things they advocate (the model of “managers” deal with the implementation with blinders to the system while “leaders” are “above the fray”) is not useful in my opinion. It does note a somewhat common practice (in organizations today) but not one that is wise. Separating leadership from the gemba is not wise. Separating leadership from a deep understanding of customers is not wise. Separating leadership from how the organization actually works is not wise.
Plenty of others seem to disagree with my opinion though, there are many articles, blog posts, podcasts, talks… on separating leadership from management.
It became fashionable some years ago to separate “leaders” from “managers” – you know, distinguishing those who “do the right things” from those who “do things right.” It sounds good. But think about how this separation works in practice. U.S. businesses now have too many leaders who are detached from the messy process of managing. So they don’t know what’s going on.
We’re overled and under-managed.
The 6 Leadership Competencies from my favorite management (or leadership, you can call it either in my opinion) book: The Leader’s Handbook by Peter Scholtes are what any manager or leader should be concerned with.
From Out of the Crisis by W. Edwards Deming, page 248
Actually, most of this book is involved with leadership. Nearly every page heretofore and hereafter states a principles of good leadership of man and machine or shows an example of good or bad leadership.
Most of those dividing up leadership and management would not put most of Out of the Crisis in the leadership domain. I think Deming was right. His book was about leadership. His book is also about management. They are much more the same thing than different things.
I think mentally placing certain traits and practices with leaders instead of managers is harmful. The same is true of saying certain practices are for managers not leaders. The view of the organization as a system and Dr. Deming’s complete management system shows that managers and leaders need to be concerned about the overall system.
Optimizing systems is most effective when the entire picture is considered and addressed. Doing so requires the traits people divide into leadership and management.