In Chapter Three Conner continues by saying that the rate of change has increased and yet people continue to operate as if this magnitude of change can be managed in the same way as it has in the past. He says that the volume, momentum, and complexity of change is accelerating at an increasing pace. He attributes this to seven fundamental issues:
In Chapter Four Conner says that managers are often not equipped to deal with the "future shock" or too much change in a short amount of time. He says that during this increased speed of change people don't stop changing, but they become less and less effective on both the job and personal fronts (e.g. - displaying dysfunctional behavior). This results in behaviors such as:
Do you ever see yourself and/or others in your organization displaying the behaviors above?
Managing up is a skill set that is needed for anyone who wants to be an integral part of their organization. It is about building a strong relationship with your boss, building trust, and bringing up issues when needed. So how do you successfully manage up? Well there are four main components that allow you to build a strong relationship with your boss:
1.Understanding what is important to your boss - knowing what are the major priorities and goals of your leader is critical for you to be able to take initiative, show support, and get involved in those areas. By taking steps to further the goals of your leader you will show him/her that you are aligned with his/her vision and wanting to contribute to those goals.
2.Helping them to prioritize your work - by understanding what is important to your boss you will be able to strategically think through what are the highest priorities in your work. You will then be able to focus on those tasks earlier than others and raise questions to your boss about them as needed. This will show that you are proactive, have drive, and are able to think strategically.
3.Raising issues to your leader - as you are closer to the ground than your boss you will be able to determine if there are any barriers to success in the making sooner than they will. As a result a good way to manage up is to raise issues to your boss which could be potential problems so that he/she can can deal with them in a timely and appropriate fashion.
4.Taking initiative to raise ideas and opportunities to your boss - being proactive shows your boss your enthusiasm, commitment, and desire to progress in the organization. It will also show them that they can delegate more work onto you and that you can bring up new initiatives that support the organization as a whole.
Is there anything from this list that you can add or improve upon in your day to day work?
“Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.” John Kotter
Companies manage complexity by first planning and budgeting, then organizing and staffing, and then controlling and problem solving.
Companies lead by setting a direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring.
Kotter says that leadership is really creating a vision of something that could be mundane, but truly serves the needs of its customers and clients. Aligning people truly empowers them to step into their role and contribute in a way that moves the organization forward. Successfully motivating ensures that employees will have the energy to overcome obstacles. It is motivating through satisfying basic human needs of achievement, belonging, recognition, self-esteem, control over one’s life and an ability to live up to one’s ideals.
Management on the other hand is truly taking complex issues and making them more effective, efficient, and productive.
I agree with Kotter that leadership is more visionary and inspiring to bring people along with the strategic plan they have. It takes the ability to take risks, serve clients in a way in which they are not currently served. It is inspiring and open minded and willing to motivate others by working on those aspects that engage employees to want to work through obstacles and not just require it of them. It takes courage to be a leader. It takes authenticity and it takes inspiration - in your own vision and in encouraging others to work towards that vision as well.
Are you a leader or a manager? If you want to be a leader what is your vision to get there? How can you begin to take the steps to become a leader and how can you inspire others to follow your lead?
Abraham Zaleznik in an article from the Harvard Business Review in the early 90‘s describes the difference between a manager and a leader in many ways. He describes the characteristics of a manager as they:
-Like to maintain existing systems, relationships, and processes
-Tend to mediate, negotiate, and balance opposing viewpoints
-Like to work with others, but keep a low level of emotional involvement
-Like structure and are survival oriented when it comes to taking risk
The characteristics of a leader from Zaleznik’s point of view are:
-Adopt a personal and active attitude towards goals by evoking images, moods and expectations of the direction a business could take
-Are risk takers and idea generators
-Relate in more intuitive and empathetic ways - get involved in thinking through how things affect people
-Are described with adjectives rich in emotional content
-They develop through personal mastery, which impels an individual to struggle for psychological and social change
-Are more like artists, scientists, and other creative thinkers than like managers
These descriptors are fascinating to me as it relates that managers are great at keeping the status quo - making current systems, processes, and structures as efficient, effective, and productive as possible. Leaders on the other hand have gone through struggles, have come into their own, and are willing to take the risks and push the envelope in a way that is visionary, intuitive, and innovative. They also develop intense relationships with others that can be volatile, which in some ways allows them to be more empathetic.
In my view leaders have a lot of personal strength first because they often go through struggle to become a “twice born” as Zaleznik calls it and therefore have the internal fortitude to push the envelope as they become a leader not only in their own lives, but for others.
With these descriptions are you more of a manager or a leader? What traits most define you when dealing with others or in your work life? If you aspire to be a leader how can you integrate more of the leadership qualities into your life?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.