Posts Tagged ‘Management’

I learnt one thing about managers on my way to work this morning,they are the type of people that Steven Covey talked about in his book THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE; Those who know how to marshall the forces to clear a path through the forest only to discover at the end that they’ve been clearing the wrong forest. Most modern managers actually do what the word itself suggests,they MANAGE. They forget one basic fact that the fuel that drives organizations to succeed do not require that you manage resources,but that you maximize them. In the constantly evolving modern organizational structure, experience has shown that the need for transformational leadership in a company even an economy is one that can not be over-emphasized.

My experience this morning showed me that more often than not,the case in most organizations is that managers focus all their effort on minimizing cost up to the point that they begin to reduce productivity. Back home in Nigeria here, it seems that our traditional beliefs about power and seniority have a lot to do with the fact that most managers or superiors in our organization exert more energy on showing whoever cares to look that they are in charge,rather than to focus on emerging trends and spearheading the movement of the organization towards greater success. We need to know this one thing above any other,this is 2010 and the reason why most economies(such as ours in Nigeria) are still where they were 20 years or more ago is because people have not woken up to modern business and organizational realities. There’s a fallacious proverb that says “let’s do it the way we’ve been doing it,so the result will be as it has always been”. What a very crazy approach to change and progress in the 21st century! In fact Albert Einstein said it all “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. How can we hope for change in an organization when we have left the tools to effect that change in the hands of people hell bent on maintaining the status quo? A management model that relies heavily on MANAGEMENT at the expense of TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP is one that is certain to crash and burn,taking with it all that the organization has achieved and hope to achieve.

A lot of supervisors,managers and bosses have a profound love for RED TAPE, BUREAUCRACY and unnecessary bottlenecks in the decision making process. They believe,quite erroneously, that the best way to to run any organization is to make sure that things continue to work, they fail to realize that that some things need to stop and newer approaches need to be introduced. They operate with this theory “if it ain’t broke,don’t fix it” and that seems to be the bane of most organizations. As we all evolve individually and as organizations,we need to rely more on those people who portray leadership traits,not on those who seem best for a managerial position. An elderly friend once told me that he employs people based on what they can do for him in three months,not based on what they’ve studied for four years. And believe me that is true. global businesses are realizing that the man who seems most qualified for the job is not always the best for the job. The best man always is the one who understands why what needs to be done,needs to be done. Here’s a quote by a man who surprisingly did not live in our time,but who perhaps realized back then that this is a lasting truth; “The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. That is the kind of manager we need in modern organizations,the manager who knows WHY. Why we are spending money on advertising,why we want to make sure that computers are safe from viruses,why we continually hammer on the importance of neatness of self and the work area,why perception is key…WHY,WHY,WHY. The managers who know what and how to do it just don’t cut it anymore.

Managing a team requires that you be passionate about what needs to be done and how will you get that passion if you don’t know the rationale behind the project you are heading? Take for example a foreman who is in charge of a road that promises to bring development to his local community, the fact that it is his community means that he will go the extra mile,do the extra job to make sure that the project is delivered. And on time. Compare him to the worker who just drives a bulldozer,who just sees the project as work,a means to make some extra bucks. Compare the way they will go about the job. One will see it as an opportunity to make a mark and as such will give his all to it,while the other will see it as just a means to an end thereby going about it like an automaton.

Read below and see some differences between people who manager and people who lead and ask yourself which one of the two types of people you would like to put at the helm of affairs.

Subject Leader Manager
Essence Change Stability
Focus Leading people Managing work
Have Followers Subordinates
Horizon Long-term Short-term
Seeks Vision Objectives
Approach Sets direction Plans detail
Decision Facilitates Makes
Power Personal charisma Formal authority
Appeal to Heart Head
Energy Passion Control
Culture Shapes Enacts
Dynamic Proactive Reactive
Persuasion Sell Tell
Style Transformational Transactional
Exchange Excitement for work Money for work
Likes Striving Action
Wants Achievement Results
Risk Takes Minimizes
Rules Breaks Makes
Conflict Uses Avoids
Direction New roads Existing roads
Truth Seeks Establishes
Concern What is right Being right
Credit Gives Takes
Blame Takes Blames

Let me stop with this; leaders don’t want to lead people,they want to influence people so as to achieve the greater common good.