Woah, Nellie.NET!

From my simple mind to… mine…

On management vs leadership

with 3 comments

Having owned my business in the past (and hopefully again), it has been a very interesting experience to be back to the 9-to-5 world over that past 4 years. I guess my perspective has come from not only spending several years doing whatever it takes to put food on the table, but also spending a few years prior to that in a consulting organization that valued leadership over management. Lately, with the credit crunch shrinking the size of the organization I work for and good people leaving left and right, I’ve put some thought into my last 2 years here.

Management’s goal is to deliver. Deliver the project, on-time, on-budget, with all expected tasks completed. Communicate your status well. Give the managers a pat on the back for doing all the work. Obviously, this is a very status and task oriented, with only some attention paid to growing people and it is a very necessary role on any team. However, just because somebody is tagged as “the manager” does not make them “the leader” of the group.

Leadership’s goal is to provide vision and opportunities. In that light, it is more people oriented than management. Pay attention to your group in your next standup. Do you have any members – who are not necessarily management – that when they speak up, everybody strains to listen to? Do you have somebody who is respected simply for who he/she is? Is there somebody who takes time with other team members and attempts to grow their role and level of understanding in various areas? Do they provide direction for the team in respect to THE TEAM and not simply mandates? These folks are your natural leaders. They aren’t normally out to make it to the next level, aren’t highly protective of their knowledge or role in the organization, and are always looking out for others. They communicate well and aren’t afraid to deliver a negative message. Certainly, they avoid all these things.

I could go on… pick up a copy of John Maxwell’s 21 Laws of Leadership to find out more. Every person on the team has an opportunity to become a leader on the team, in one way or another. You don’t have to be a “manager” to be a leader. It’s unfortunate that my team has devolved to this state (our previous management was awesome at providing leadership), but it is also an opportunity for ALL team members to raise their Leadership Lids.


Written by Nelson

August 12, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

3 Responses

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  1. Interesting view, thanks for sharing.


    August 12, 2008 at 9:48 pm

  2. Yeah… too bad I’m not living it as I should! Trying!

    More info: http://infoswami.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/effective-leadership-characteristics-of-a-good-leader/

    Nelson Montalvo

    August 15, 2008 at 10:55 pm

  3. Interesting blog. In most groups/teams some individuals have greater influence on others; this can be the result of personality (both positive and negative), respected by the group/team, prior experience among others.

    An important aspect of this dynamic for a Manager/Leader is for them to know who the main voices are. They may be the voices that do not support the Manager/Leader’s stance and can pose a risk to undermining any initiatives launched.

    A Manager is also a Leader. At times the Manager will need to deliver day-to-day functions and at other times he will need to influence, inspire and engage – in today’s ever competitive climate where change is common place the ability of a manager to lead is more so than ever before.

    But I do agree that leadership should be allowed to move freely across a team. Therein lays the real challenge for Managers/Leaders – the ability to decentralise leadership to
    enable an environment of initiative, independent thought and collective contribution to occur.


    August 20, 2008 at 9:57 pm

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