Good Management Functions Clarity
If you did a random poll on the street and asked people to outline the differences between management and leadership, most would say there is no difference. Many business school graduates cannot provide a specific definition of either term. In reality, the debate about where management ends and leadership begins is endless and often pointless but please do not tell your College Professor that. The popular textbook concept of management is the process by which goals are accomplished through planning, analysis, leadership, and directing resources. Did you notice something in there? In an attempt to define management, we used the word leadership. It never ends!
Instead of the fruitless attempt to identify managers by how they work let us consider defining the functions of good managers by what they do. Buzzwords of modern good management practices include empowering employees and gaining cooperation. Empowering employees means managers motivate employees to high productivity through allowing each employee to have control over daily work activity. That is an effective strategy assuming the employee is dedicated and qualified. Many self labeled management gurus insist that your company will not be successful unless you have the best of the best employees at every level. That is a nice idea but impossible to accomplish and incredibly obvious! Consider these 3 Functions of Good Management:
- Servant Leadership
- Strategic Planning
- Organizational Control
The Servant Leadership model is one where the leader empowers the line workers to be the best they can be. The Servant Leader stands in the gap and removes barriers, noise, and distractions which rob employees of productivity. Functions of good management for leadership includes providing performance feedback, clarification of processes, and motivation of the team. There are best practice models for how good leaders provide performance feedback in a way that maintains the dignity of the employee and inspires increasingly higher levels of excellence. Great processes make great employees. Since it is impossible to hire the best of the best in every organization, we must create great processes for good employees. Good management practices includes dedication to constant process improvement for sustainable success.
Strategic planning is mandatory for operating a business where success is not an accident. Management serves in the strategic planning role through setting goals for every level of the organization. It is not enough for the line workers to have goals. Department managers should have goals. Even the CEO should have a set of goals. Each set of goals should be set through cooperation of the employee and the immediate supervisor. Smart planners do not simply create new goals. They also ensure the resources are available and allocated to set their team up for success.
What we can measure we can manage. What we can manage we can correct when necessary. Good management functions always include methods for measuring results set by the organizational directives. Management’s organizational control includes recruiting and retaining top talent. Most managers stop there but excellent managers know there is more to effective leadership than recruitment and retention. Placing the right people, in the right places, doing the right things is an age old strategy but seems to be presented as a new concept by many.
After reviewing the above good management functions it should be obvious that management and leadership are closely connected and cannot be separated. Many Management Coaches looking to make a name for themselves with a catchy idea attempt to separate management and leadership. They they attempt to support their false truth with skewed logic. There are many incomplete arguments that say you can lead people without managing them. Others attempt to attach the term leadership to Christian based principles as if management does not encompass Christian concepts as well. Avoid these traps. Ditch the academic debate over semantics and the parsing of words. In the real world of high pressure business, there is no difference between management and leadership. Both term refer to helping people reach their fullest potential while operating a profitable firm providing value to loyal customers.
The Real World
Regardless of the terms you use. Good management functions for leadership remain the same. There is nothing new under the sun. Human beings have not evolved enough since the beginning of recorded history as to demand an new set of rules for motivating others. What worked in the times of the Romans to move people to be productive still works today. In the most basic form, it is the carrot or the stick. You either force people to do what you need them to do or you motivate them through understanding what moves them and then give them a choice. Wow, now that is revolutionary and fundamental!
Want to read more on elements of good leadership? Check out this article from CNN and this one from the blog of Brian Tracy.
Blog image courtesy of: © Ivaylo Sarayski | Dreamstime.com – Newspaper collage
Good management functions start with functions of great processes. If you are having problems with employee performance then look to your managers. If you have problems with the performance of your managers then look to your processes. If you cannot identify our processes then look in the mirror. The common wisdom is that we manage processes but we lead people. The rhythm set by leadership dictates the rhythm of the organization.