Managing things, Leading people
This blog is about Management AND Leadership. Management is about things and may require leadership. Leadership is about people and must be part of Management. Some might say that they are the same, but I hope through this and subsequent posts to demonstrate how the process of management can be successful without necessarily requiring leadership, but leadership needs the process of management to succeed.
First, you need to understand what the primary functions of management are and that leadership is one of those functions. Management is about planning, organizing, leading, and evaluating.
Planning is the process of identifying and outlining the goals and objects of something that you want or need to accomplish. This includes identifying resources and people, obstacles and challenges, risks and rewards, as well as opportunities and benefits. All of this is stuff that can be described and documented. It is a description of what the future will or can look like.
Organizing, while some of the planning requires organizing thoughts and arranging how they are presented, here we are talking about the things that are necessary to fulfill the plan. What resources - time, money, people and materials - will be required to carry out the plan. Where will they be needed, in what order will they be required, and how much will be necessary. These of course sound like elements that need to be included in the plan, but as you organize you must actually put your hands on these resources and get them in place.
Leading is about people. You need to attract, motivate and inspire people to carry out the plan based on the organization put into place. Here is where and how the plan is executed. Leading is about all the activities associated with individuals and groups of people that will carryout the plan and accomplish the tasks. It requires an understanding of how people learn, interact, and behave... and then applying the appropriate technique and skills to explain, demonstrate, guide, and enable others to perform at their best.
Evaluating is taking a step back from all the activity and asking if it is working. Are things happening as planned, is the organization efficient, are the people giving their best effort. It is the process required to make improvements. It is about being humble enough to ask, "am I doing the right thing", "are we doing the right thing" or "are we doing it the right way". It is about adjusting and tweaking the plan, the organization, and leadership to achieve optimum performance.
While these activities may appear to occur in a linear fashion, they are inter-twined and iterative in nature and require constant attention. Management is not just about running a business, but it is about how we do just about everything in life - hobbies, family, community service, and work - all benefit from good management practices. My intent is to provide coaching and mentoring to anyone who reads this blog, that will help them become a high performance manager. In succeeding posts I intend to spend more time on these four activities, along with other topics that I feel are important to management and leadership.
30 years in a variety of industries - manufacturing, distribution, hospitality, retail, and financial services - being "managed" and managing, provides a unique perspective on the practice of management and leadership.