Which is preferred between leadership and management? Does everyone require both leadership and management or does it depend on the individual?
Leadership and management are the subjects of many books, blogs, doctoral theses and academic discussions. Neither is the perfect solution but both can be perfect.
Why all the fuss about the difference between leadership and management? Here’s why:
Some people are really good leaders and others are really good managers. It is usually an either/or situation. Rarely does one person have such good leadership and management skills that others are envious.
Through observation, I’ve witnessed the following as they relate to leadership and management:
1. Leaders know they are leaders and do not desire to be managers.
2. Not all leaders are liked but they are respected.
3. Leaders surround themselves with people whose strengths complement the leader’s weaknesses.
4. Some managers want to be leaders but manage in a way that people will not want to follow them.
5. Good managers are liked and respected by their subordinates.
6. Bad managers are afraid of looking foolish.
Think about all the leaders and managers you have witnessed in your life. Some may have been teachers, coaches, parents or bosses. Look carefully at each of the six traits above. You can name at least one person for each item.
If companies, schools and sports teams are built on the foundations of good leadership and management, why are there so many bad leaders and managers out there? Why can’t they all be taught what traits make up good leadership and management?
A few reasons why good leadership and management is not consistently found are:
1. Not everyone is meant to be in leadership and management positions. Some people are meant to stay in the rank and file. There’s nothing wrong with that.
2. Viewpoints of good leadership and management traits and skills are different. You may think a trait is good for a leader but I may not. There’s nothing wrong with that either.
3. Great examples of leadership and management are rare. Without great examples to model oneself by, it is difficult to become a great leader or manager.
What do you do when the wrong people are in leadership and management positions? This can be very difficult to deal with. You have the right to have a working environment in which you do not feel threatened. The wrong leader or manager can keep that from happening.
These are the four steps to take if you are working for someone who has improperly been put in a position of authority:
1. It’s not you, its them – If you’ve ever been on the wrong side of the “It’s not you, it’s me” breakup line, you know that can hurt. You also know its not truthful. However, in the case of bad leadership and management personnel, sometimes it is true.
If you have a bad boss and that boss is continually derogatory and mean, you have to realize it’s not you. That boss has a problem. Do not take what is said as a personal insult. That boss has a bad temperament and/or conceit problem but you are not the cause of it. He was like that long before you met him and he will continue to be like that long after you’re gone.
2. Confront the bully – This is one of the most intimidating things to do in your career. It’s been my experience that people in leadership and management positions who are mean, rude and just downright disrespectful often will change when confronted.
Mean bosses are bullies. While bullying in the work place should not be tolerated, you know it is in certain cases. That bully is the same as the elementary school bully. Once you stand up for yourself, the bully will back down. You just have to earn the bully’s respect.
3. Hold your tongue – As much as you want to retaliate at what a bad boss says or does, it is what we call a CLM – Career Limiting Move. Retaliation gets you no where. Just like in a football game, the player who retaliates most often draws the penalty flag. It’s just not worth it.
Keep your mouth shut in the heat of the moment. Let things cool down and ask advice of someone else in management about how to approach the situation.
4. Ask for help – Successful people are those who realize early that they cannot do everything themselves. They ask for help. If you are not able to cope or earn respect from the bad leader or manager from following the three previous steps, it is probably time to ask for help.
Successful people also realize early on to only take advice from only people who are at a level or have what they want. Therefore, do not ask for help from your peers or those below you unless you know they have successfully navigated the bad boss situation. Otherwise, ask someone at the same level as the bad boss or someone above him.
When you ask for help, make sure you have some sort of relationship with the person you are asking. The last thing you want is for this plea for assistance to back-fire on you. Good people in leadership and management positions will want to help. Make sure you ask the right person.
We’ve addressed six observations about leadership and management. All are true. What others can you think of? We’ve also gone over three reasons why good leadership and management is hard to find. There have to be more than three. What else can you think of? Finally, we identified a four step process to dealing with bad people in leadership and management positions. What other steps would you add?
Answer these questions in the comments below.
When you make it into leadership or management positions, what kind of leader or manager will you be? Will others think highly of you or will you be that bully? I hope the former, rather than the latter. Let’s change the face of leadership and management so we can all be proud of the people above us.
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