You.Life.Business.Growth. 6. Leading Not Managing

You.Life.Business.Growth. Are you leading, not managing?

You can’t have business growth without personal growth. That’s because both come from finding unity between you, your life and your business.

This article is the sixth of a series of seven. Here’s the model that this series of articles builds on:

Breakthrough Growth

Managing?

Managing is important. It’s focused on the administration of an organisation to achieve its objectives, through acquiring and applying various forms of capital: natural; financial, built; human; and social. It’s about planning, organising, commanding, coordinating and controlling. It requires political, conceptual, interpersonal, diagnostic, technical, behavioural and, yes, leadership skills. However, it is fundamentally a set of transactional processes focused on promoting organisational efficiency. It is a necessary, but not sufficient role in any organisation.

It also gets bad press. ‘Managerialism‘ is a term often applied in public sector organisations, notably in health and education. It is commonly used by professionals not involved or marginally involved in the management of large, sometimes complex, organisations. Said professionals are usually frustrated that managers are not meeting the professionals’ expectations. Said managers are generally working within budget or resource constraints over which they have little control. The restrictions are usually the outcome of strategic decisions taken by leaders.

Leading?

Leading is essential in organisations. Leaders determine, set and then guide the direction of an organisation. Like management, it requires political, conceptual, interpersonal, diagnostic, technical, and behavioural skills, but applied in a less operational more strategic context. Moreover, creativity, decision-making and communication while essential in management, are critical in leadership. At its foundations, leadership is a set of transformational processes focused on promoting organisational effectiveness.

Leadership too gets a bad press, especially when things go wrong. I haven’t looked, but “failure of leadership” must be one of the most commonly used phrases in all forms of news media.

Growth: Managed or Led?

Rather like life and business, leadership and management live commonly exist in an uneasy symbiosis: one blaming the other for lack of achieving organisational objectives. However, it is unquestionably the leader that matters in business growth. There are many good managers available; the skills are readily teachable and transferrable. While leadership is teachable, its execution is somewhat more prone to difficulty than managerial work. However, a good leader can usually handle a bad or under-skilled manager, whereas poor leadership is almost impossible for skilled managers to overcome.

Growth of an organisation, particularly high-growth, is challenging to achieve without proper management; It’s near impossible with poor leadership.

My final article in this series will be on growth.