Leadership and Management Made Simple

 

As Warren Bennis mentioned in his book, On Becoming a Leader, “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” Stephen Covey referred to this quote in his best selling book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Leadership vs Management has been a topic knee deep in jargon since the difference was distinguished. Every analyst, author, reporter, and blogger associated to business administration, or the likes of which, have debated, written, discussed, and typed to their heart’s content concerning these differences. However, I think we gain a better understanding of the difference between the two if we use the “left brain, right brain” ideas best categorized by Daniel Pink in his book A Whole New Mind.

Pink uses scientific testing and reasoning, and organizes them in his book to build a case for why extrinsic factors of this world, Asia, automation, and abundance, are forcing people to use both the left and right hemispheres of their brain to create products or jobs that cannot be automated and have beautiful design. The left brain is considered to be the algorithmic side of the brain. It likes process, compartmentalization, and file storage. This hemisphere performs very well with step by step procedures. The right side of the brain is the application side. It takes the understanding of all the capable processes, the gestalt, and is considered the more holistic and creative side of the brain. Daniel Pink concludes his book by determining that we must enable activation of both hemispheres of our brain because one without the other is low functioning. The consistent use of the right and left sides of our brain simultaneously, will develop a whole new mind.

Management and leadership can be organized under this idea. Management (left brain) is the organization of tasks. It likes compartments. Management of money, facilities, people, resources, and tasks are all separate entities. Leadership (right brain) is the gestalt. The big picture thinker that applies and combines money, facilities, resources, and tasks towards a vision is leadership practice 101. Yes, one is functional without the other, but not nearly as effective. Combining the two would be the pinnacle of leadership and management. Both sides would enable and empower the other, which would result in a “flywheel effect.” They would collectively use the inertia of the other in order to enhance itself, resulting in a higher inertia for the other to be enhanced. It’s a constant upward spiral that resists a change in direction.

Management

The strategies of management are a dime a dozen. Self help gurus from all over the world have been singling out (left brain) the processes of organization in a variety of ways. Many ideas piggy back off of the others, so I doubt that any of mine are breakthroughs in any way.

Promote the Type A in you. Cardiologists of the 1950′s, Friedman and Rosenman, determined that Type A personalities seem to analyze, react, and stress over simple situations. They also concluded that this personality trait led to higher developments of cardiac complications. However, a more balanced personality that didn’t depend heavily on Type A behavior lessened the possibility of heart conditions. No body is specifically Type A nor Type B. They just typically show the tendencies of one side more than the other. The traits aren’t out of our control. Effort and planning of change would allow you to conscientiously move in one direction or the other. Therefore, no matter what side of the spectrum you’re on, Type A in moderation is great for management and you should begin sliding that way. Understanding the importance of deadlines, schedules, appointments, and meeting the requirements for all of those are Type A tendencies that won’t kill you. Organize yourself so you can operate effectively.

Delegate. No matter what anyone says, a blind squirrel doesn’t ever find the nut! It asks other squirrels to find it for him. Surround yourself with highly qualified staff that are as capable or more capable than yourself and let go. Allow them to take on tasks and trust their expertise. Give them the resources they need, time, and a purpose for completing the task, then let them loose and leave them alone.

Communicate. Communicate your ideas through a variety of ways, twitter, blog, vlog,  email, phone, face to face and text messaging. Pink, from the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, suggests that emails be short and sweet. Communicate times, dates, and what to bring. If emails become too cumbersome and time consuming, demotivation occurs and your “flywheel” will slow down the upward trend.

Use your resources. Many of us have all the resources we need, but we don’t utilize them. Call a colleague and ask for help. Regis Phillburne allowed it on his game show, why can’t we phone a friend in a time of dire need? It’s okay to call for confirmation rather than worry. Data resources are available in droves with our advances in technology. Make data informed decisions to organize your staff, their resources, and your facilities.

Of course, mastering these techniques will come after much trial and error. Understanding that growth isn’t instantaneous should be a globally recognized virtue. Make small improvements each day and your growth will supersede any of your shortcomings.

Leadership

Jim Collins describes leadership in levels ranging from one through five whereas level five was the most advanced. The following characteristics were similar among all of the leaders in the companies that were considered to have gone from “Good to Great.”

The company’s best interest must be prioritized above your own. If you need to scrub the bathrooms, get on your hands and knees. If a deadline needs to be met, but the mailroom is closed until morning, personally deliver a package. If a coworker is having problems for reliability of transportation, pick them up and carpool. Your pride better not impede on the success of your business. The greatest leaders were all categorized as “workhorses” rather than “showhorses.” They were all a part of the day to day grind of their company.

Affirm others and give them credit for any successes even if you were a key factor in their success. This piece of advice is exponentially beneficial. Take the time to notice others and affirm their decisions and actions. The social benefits are tremendous and the motivational side effects will elicit more positive actions. Remember to be genuine and do it publicly. On that same token, take the blame. Be the first person to step up and admit to a wrong decision. Cliff Nass, author of The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, describes that this strategy  evokes a genetic response. People naturally like one who takes responsibility for a mistake, even if they aren’t truly responsible. Shawn Achor provides an example, in his book The Happiness Advantage, of a MLB Umpire whose error resulted in the opposing team to move along in the playoffs. The umpire immediately apologized and took full responsibility of his mistake. A day later, America loved him for it. We are a forgiving creature. Go on and take responsibility.

Set up your successors for success. Surround yourself with competent people who can make decisions without you. When your gone, the business has to be able to continue to operate successfully. Good leaders will ensure that the business operates successfully while they’re in command, but great leaders anticipate a time when they must step down. Great leaders build the infrastructure of their company  so strong that it will stand even without them.

Unwavering resolve. You’re the leader. Now man up and start acting like it. Your decisions must be guided and purposeful. Once you start waffling, your followers become unsure of your leadership.

Harness these leadership and managerial characteristics. Your career depends on it.

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