One of the great things that a blog can do tell you exactly what people typed in their search engine to get to your site.
Yesterday two of the search items that led people to me were:
- Can Managers Be Effective Leaders?
- Are Leaders Always Managers?
In short I believe that the answers are Yes and No respectively. Let me say more:
Can Managers Be Effective Leaders?
Managers exist to ensure that ‘leadership’ happens. Managers are paid to make ‘the rubber hit the road’. Got a new strategic plan? It is worth nothing unless you have managers who implement it. Developed a new set of values? Again worthless without managers who can bring them to life in work. Been building a balanced scorecard or working on Lean systems? Pointless, unless you have managers that can and will implement change. Without management leadership is nothing.
The lack of management capacity to engage with and implement the products of leadership is in my experience frightening – certainly here in the UK. Sometimes the problem is lack of time. Managers are too busy keeping the current show on the road to really thing about the production of a new one dreamed up by the ‘leadership’. Sometimes it is lack of skill and will.
Are Leaders Always Managers?
I meet many leaders who fail to really engage with the problems of implementation and management. The strategies, plans, visions and values are published and the expectation is that things will happen. Accountabilities are not clear, progress is not monitored and support is not provided. At least not in the quantities or with the rigour needed to make leadership work. Leaders often fail to engage managers in the leadership process – leaving them detached and struggling to take ownership of the process.
In my experience the best results occur when good managers are trained to engage in the leadership process. If this is well planned then they own the leadership process and leadership is not invested a single charismatic leader. It is distributed throughout the management team.
As for the best leaders,
the people do not notice their existence.
The next best,
the people honour and praise.
The next, the people fear;
and the next, the people hate…
When the best leader’s work is done,
the people say, “We did it ourselves!”
To lead the people, walk behind them.