The Herman Trend Alert|
March 14, 2001
Leadership Replacing Management
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A significant shift is underway in the business environment. Workers no longer want to be managed. They demand leadership, which requires a whole different set of skills.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about the differences between leadership and management. And that is the problem. Workers have heard talk, but have not seen action. They are looking for a change in the practices of their superiors, and they are not satisfied with the progress.
To workers, as well as theorists and business school professors, leadership means letting go. Leadership means giving workers more responsibility, more freedom, more power, and more accountability. In the real world, executives, managers, and supervisors are still managing . . . even as they call themselves leaders. Managing includes directing, organizing the work of others, close monitoring, and discipline.
The techniques of management impede corporate growth, especially when desired growth requires original thinking, creativity, innovation, and risk-taking. Such behaviors are very difficult in a traditional management environment. Yet growth is essential in today's competitive, fast-moving world. Growth in products and services, technology, business relationships, market penetration and market share, and the capacity of the company and its workforce are vital just to keep up!
To survive-and thrive-in the fast-changing business environments of today and tomorrow, the practice of leadership can make a substantial difference. Without enough people available to do all the jobs, workers must be empowered to take whatever actions are necessary to accomplish work and serve customers. With fewer people to accomplish the same-or more-work, employers must find new ways of doing things. Leadership.
Problem: Most people in charge of companies, or sections of companies, are more comfortable with management than they are with leadership. They must change. They must learn how to be leaders, while they are almost overwhelmed with the demands of work that must still be done everyday.
Employers re-train managers to be leaders. Example of new behaviors must come from the top of the organization. Employers who manage this transformation well will have a competitive advantage in the years ahead.
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