From Manager to Leader

 My Company has an assessment called “Towards Ten Thousand“.  It measures how effectively people in organisations work together.  People who work in teams.  Only we don’t use the word “teams”.  The generic term we use is “workgroups”.  The word “Team” is reserved for only the most highly effective workgroups and there are precious few of them.

I adopt a similar distinction between Managers and Leaders.  Leaders are superior managers.  Leaders are competent technically but what distinguishes them from mImplement | Plan Strategic | Implementing | Implementation plan | Implementation management | Strategy Implementation | Implementations | Implementation guide | Implementation processanagers is their ability to manage people.

Leadership can only be practiced when the manager is responsible for directing the activities of a workgroup.  Four star general and former President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower said that “leadership is the art of getting someone else to do what you want done because he wants to do it”.  So a condition of Leadership is the presence of a goal that the leader is incapable of achieving by him or herself.

Why Kevin Rudd failed in leadership bid

Take Kevin Rudd for example.

Whether you agree with his policies or not, he gives the appearance of being very competent technically.  He is knowledgeable, does his homework and speaks fluently.  But the reason for the coup that ousted him in June 2010 was his lack of leadership – his apparent inability to manage people.  Not only was the cabinet and caucus dysfunctional but the turnover in his staff who tired of his bullying and autocratic style was legendary.  Rudd was soundly defeated in Caucus by 71 votes to 31 when he challenged Julia Gillard for leadership of the ALP in February 2012 yet he remains the preferred leader in all the opinion polls.  The reason for this paradoxical situation can be explained by the difference between management and leadership.  The electorate see Kevin Rudd the manager whereas the Caucus see Kevin Rudd the leader.  The Caucus see Kevin Rudd as sorely lacking in the “art of getting someone else to do what you want done because he wants to do it”.

The Wagon Wheel Way Enterprise Operating System

In the Wagon Wheel Way™ Enterprise Operating System, Leadership is the third of the five key implementation requirements.  Preceding it are Organisational alignment and Management of Change.  Before Leadership can be practiced, everyone needs to understand where the organisation is now, what the overall goal is and the broad strategies for getting there.  Lastly, each staff member needs to understand the role that he or she will play in the journey.  Leadership qualities in the CEO are vital and if absent will lead to poor leadership at the workgroup level.  However, the presence of a CEO who is also a leader does not guarantee the reverse, particularly in a large organisation.  I worked for a company that had an exceptional CEO but his leadership example was not replicated by many of his most senior managers.

Rather than go into leadership theory, the chapter on Leadership in my book “Execution to Die For” focuses instead on Leadership behaviour.  It answers the question – what do leaders do that non-leaders do not?  The reality is that achieving execution to die for requires people at all levels of the organisation to be effective managers of people; being technically competent is simply not enough.


A list of Leadership behaviours may be found in Section 2.3 of “Execution to Die For – the Manager’s Guide to Making It Happen.  The book is available in hard or soft copy from Amazon and in hard copy from my web site



One Response to From Manager to Leader

  1. Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that will make the largest changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

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