Leadership AND management

Dichotomy and balance

Story category: Leadership

Story tags: people, leadership management, culture

As you might gave noticed in other stories we have posted, we think leadership is important. Not just leadership on top level, but leadership on all levels of the organization which includes decentralized command. Decentralized command is a different way of saying that decision making and problem solving are done on all levels of the organization; within the organization we provide authority (ability to solve problems and make decisions) to where information is (the people who have information through executing the actual tasks).


We do have to insert in a caveat, a big caveat; we also think that management is important. Leadership helps with decision making, problem solving, goals setting, and direction, but management helps with discipline, consistency, routine, and control of risk and the achievement of set targets. Management and leadership are a dichotomy which bring balance within the organization.


Within our management framework, employees are entitled to four (4) items from their direct supervisor/manager:


     1)    Information: information regarding planning, set goals and targets, priorities, deadlines, etc.


      2)    Instruction: instruction on what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.


     3)    Training: training to increase needed competencies (skill, knowledge, attitude) to execute tasks safely, efficiently, and effectively.


     4)    Supervision: oversight, information gathering, and feedback on execution of tasks.


Our leadership philosophy is focused on people being able to be as independent as possible including problem solving and decision making. Within our management philosophy we are focused on structure, discipline, and control. As members of the organization are more junior in competency the spectrum will put more emphasis on management, and as members grow the emphasis moves to a more leadership-based approach. This way we secure safety and control while providing an environment that drives learning, growing, and in the end bounded autonomy.


Leaders within the organization are thus required to understand which parts of the operation require management, which parts require leadership, and how to optimally work with people within this context. Management is focused on structure and leadership is focused on possibility and opportunity with the set direction; organizations need a combination of these two things to be successful.


How to know to what degree people need management, or a greater or smaller degree of leadership (including self-leadership)? This depends on the development of the people within the organization; competency and clarity are the main drivers that determine the optimum mix.


Competency development is a topic for future story, but for now we want to have the record set straight: 


“Leadership sis crucial, but good old-fashioned management and supervision are essential”.

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