Saturday, June 23, 2012

Leadership as a Quality

Alright...  After reading Steve Keating's "Managing or Leading" post ( I'm going to get philosophical for a moment about leadership.

Keating's premise is "If you're doing it for business, it's managing. If you're doing it for your people, it's leading." While there's some truth in this statement, it's not completely true. Distilled definitions like these only serve to extend the myth that leadership and management are mutually exclusive. It also serves to extend why people are over-focused on the process and not results. Results require people who are well managed through leadership. 

  • A manager who only focuses on processes will not have results because no one is leading the people who create results. 
...and from this we can say that:
  • A manager whose head is buried in process minutia will have no team because a team needs a leader in order to remain a team.

Let's think of it this way:

  • Leadership is a quality. (It exists in all roles: front-line to CEO)
  • Leadership cannot exist on its own and must be associated with a role. (a brain cannot exist without a body)
  • Those who are considered "leaders" are in a management role. (supervisors, team leaders, CEO's... these roles all "manage" per se.)

And finally, let's stop separating leading from managing and managing from leading, and look at it this way: Businesses are people. We can only (as Keating puts it) do "it for business," only if (as I put it) "we do it for people first."

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