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Are leaders just managers?
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Tuesday, 12 June 2007
Leaders, managers - what's the difference? The argument goes on. Carol Lewis takes it up, saying that Max Landsberg, author of The Tools of Leadership sees "management and leadership as a continuum along which we progress from team leader to CEO. And there are times when leaders need to manage, and managers to lead.

"Briefly the roles divide thus: managers control risks, use positional authority, operate within organisational boundaries, follow direction and like to establish order; leaders take risks, use personal appeal, challenge boundaries and seek opportunities, he says.

"Three key things leaders do are: 1. Present good ideas (these are not necessarily their own) which are often outside their defined area of work but further the wider aims of the company; 2. Get other people to support their ideas. Pretty easy because the ideas are often what Landsberg describes as inevitable but unexpected why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? ideas; and 3. Have a broad network of contacts, both inside and outside the organisation, where they can gain inspiration and support."

Carol Lewis accepts a definition that the adaptation of leadership style to the situation is 'authentic leadership'. Although the logic of this is not entirely clear, he goes on to say "Rob Goffee, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, advocates authentic leadership in his book Why Should Anyone Want to be Led by You? He says that workplaces are full of cynical, disaffected followers who want leaders who inspire and excite. “People are fed up with being worked, they are fed up of management fads and want to be led by real people they can trust,” he says. [and that sounds authentic to me].

"Leaders who can be trusted are self aware and know what differentiates them from their colleagues (if you don’t, 360-degree feedback can help), they are not afraid to reveal their weaknesses and know how to adapt their style to different situations, Professor Goffee says.

Much of what turns a manager into a leader can be learnt, but not all. “Good leaders really care and because they really care they expose their true selves and take risks. [authentic, yes!] But you can’t teach people to really care and if they don’t really care then they are just 9 to 5 jobsworths.” This emotion is at the heart of what differentiates management from leadership, he says. “Managers coordinate, implement and get things done. Leaders inspire, engage and lift people to higher levels of performance.”

"Finally, he advises caution in choosing where [meaning in what environment] you want to lead: “The irony is that some big organisations say they want more leaders but their structures and cultures often... homogenise people. Leadership is about using our differences and humanity, but the organisation effectively kills off leaders and produces suits.” And who’d want to be a suit?"

Source: Times Online


To which useful review I would like to add: everyone has the potential to be both leader and manager at some point in their job/role/life. To be continued!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 19:18  
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