The third tenet of The SMART Workplace is “TSW develops leaders, not executives, and recruits networks, not individuals”. This blog is focused on the first part of that declaration – leaders, not executives. We’ll save the network thing for another blog. Both ideas are too important to give any one short Schiff in just a few hundred words.
Yes, there is a difference and a lot of pundits talk about it – endlessly. Without, I may add, ever having done either one. Let’s start with an agreed upon definition of management and leadership.
“We don’t have to go far to find terrible leadership. This is primarily due to people who find themselves in positions of power who confuse leadership with management. So we are clear about the difference, let’s define both practices:
- Management is the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.
- Leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization.
The world is currently over-managed and under-led.” Source
We’re trying something new with this blog which mimics our approach to learning. We’re blending short videos in all training materials. So, now is the time to go to this Short Video Link and see how our minion friends see this difference.
A bit of ‘so what’ might help. The issue is that in the emerging workplace, things have become more uncertain, change has speeded up and customers have become notoriously fickle because they have free, instant access to a wealth of information. This increased volatility in market demand requires companies to become more agile in their entire business enterprise. This in turn necessitates leadership that can change direction and operations more quickly than the competition.
And to emphasize today’s importance even more, Bob Anderson, a well respected leadership coach, puts it out front. “When direction and meaning are confined to Executive Leadership, value is minimized.” It’s almost like ‘executive leadership’ is an oxymoron.
Leadership isn’t for everyone. Some people are content just doing things, not wondering about the ‘why’. Let me interject a personal story here. When I was in the Army every year my boss had to write an ‘Officer Efficiency Report’. The classic line was ‘This officer is destined to go through life pushing on doors marked pull.’ Can you imagine the image this brought up when you were being considered for a leadership position? Do you want a manager who is always pushing against the tide, or a leader who is taking charge and pulling your business into the future?
We believe the SMART Workplace needs to start by recruiting talent with high leadership potential to begin with. Then SMART organizations need to put in place a well supported leadership development program. And these programs should have several integrated components.
First, how do you sort out those high potential folks from those that really don’t see future leadership in their purpose? The answer is easy; execution difficult. Look for people who have already demonstrated leadership. Service organizations like Boy/Girl scouts, military service and if they are college educated, did they belong to organizations like Omega Delta Kappa? These are the people who always seem to step up and volunteer to lead new efforts ranging all the way from product launches to the summer office picnic.
The second component of an effective leadership development program is a pathway to increasingly responsible jobs. Related to this is giving high visibility to high performers so you can insure continuity of leadership. There is always a pool of people to choose from when senior leadership vacancies happen. Everyone always knows who should be placed in that next critical opening.
Third, have formal mentoring programs where one on one relationships are developed. For example, we can all remember that one teacher, that one coach, that one professor, that one senior person that made all the difference in our developing direction. Asking leadership candidates to recall their experiences with mentors can help you find people who have had previous positive leadership development experiences. And good past experiences can help guide future development actions.
Lastly, The SMART Workplace will be looking for people who are actively engaged in “Self Leadership” or “Strategic Personal Development”. This in itself is an evolving skill set. You see in the new world of work, people won’t be able to depend on some folks down the hall in Human Resources to assist them in their leadership development.
If you want to be a SMART Workplace, reach out to us.
- Start by taking our FREE Organizational Assessment.
- Check out our knowledge resources while you’re on our site.
- And join us for open and transparent Happy Hour Chats, facilitated online Luncheon Discussions and learning webinars.
For more information go to The SMART Workplace and sign up to join our SMART community. If you want leadership to change, you have to do something different.
~Charlie Grantham – Futurist and Author; the SMART Workplace