Look at her: So charming. Charismatic. She can get people motivated so easily. Her ways work like a charm. This is the leader that all of us would like to follow and be around. But is leadership enough to succeed in business? Hardly.
History is full of leaders who were so mesmerizing and moved millions but unfortunately did not have the managerial skills to organize and move people and systems towards success, or victory. So while leadership is necessary, it is not everything.
In the workplace, you find inspiring leaders. But they are unable to manage. Management is key. To succeed in business, one needs to know how to manage not only to lead.
What is the difference between leadership and management?
There are different opinions on that, so why not share mine? A leader can draw a beautiful picture of a future, and communicate this desired picture of the future to followers in a way that makes them want to follow the leader towards that better future state. But the leader might have no idea how to get there. Or he might know how to get there but does not know how to move everybody to that goal. Moving organizations and people require more than good vision. It requires management skills. These include organizing, structuring, interfacing, integrating, planning, executing, and controlling. This is management.
1. Organizing: management starts with organizing. If there is a vision we want to go to, then we need to organize in a way to help us reach that vision. Organizing in business requires sorting and labeling. For example, we need to sort the work we have into operations, projects, programs, and portfolios.
2. Structuring: structuring means looking at things as systems. Systems include people, process, tools, and data. Systems need to interface and integrate.
3. Interfacing: interface means different parts of the system are communicating and creating value from communication.
4. Integrating: integrating means all parts of the system work in unison towards achieving the purpose for which the system was created.
5. Planning: planning is about developing a road-map that shows how we will get to our goals.
6. Executing: executing means carrying out the plans. This has to be done in iterations of plan-do-check-act which is known as the Shewart cycle. Today more than ever, this cycle needs to be shorter so we do not spend too much time doing something without ensuring it is delivering value. While the “do” is the executing part of the Shewhart cycle, the “controlling” is the “check” part.
7. Controlling: controlling means comparing what we said we will do in the plan with what we actually did on the ground. Then we need to identify differences, and what we need to do about them before we continue with the next cycle.
There is a lot more we can talk about in management. Like managing people. This is key. There is more to dealing with people than just charming them and influencing them to follow. We need to keep them aware, get their commitment, hold them accountable, and create a team culture.
Management is an art that seems to be shadowed currently with all the talk about leadership that is very trendy these days. But in business, management is what delivers the goods.
Leadership is the prerequisite, but it is nothing without management. So while the leadership gets the limelight, management delivers the goods.