Leaders and managers: Nothing in common
“Managers are one of the core business diseases of the Industrial Age. They are sacred cows who have been around only for a little over a century but who should go away as quickly as possible. Few things are as disruptive, unhelpful and unproductive in the workplace as managers.
Solve and Decide, or Become Less Important?
The manager’s worst habits are to a) solve things and b) decide things. No other actions are as debilitating to others. When a manager solves and decides, the only thing left is to delegate tasks to be executed–‘Put this nut on that bolt, at this rate.’ But when we delegate tasks, people feel used. Managers who solve and decide things are fundamental in the dehumanizing of the workplace, because tasks are for machines.
Leaders do it quite differently. They train others to solve problems and make decisions, and then they get out of the way. If you’re becoming less and less important in your position, you’re leading.
The Best Business Leader Makes the Fewest Decisions
The art of traditional management involves planning, organizing, staffing, controlling, and ‘manipulating human capital.’ In the awful assumption of the traditional management model, people are ‘capital’ to be manipulated and controlled.
In contrast, the art of leadership is to know how few decisions the leader needs to make. …
What Are You Delegating; Tasks or Responsibility?
We said earlier that when managers delegate tasks (‘put this nut on that bolt’), people feel used, because tasks are for machines. But leaders delegate responsibility (‘make a great product’)–a much broader request that requires thinking, solving, and deciding. When given responsibility, people take ownership, and ownership is the most powerful motivator in business. Are you delegating tasks, which simply require action, or delegating responsibility, which requires the whole messy, creative person to show up?
Management Is Not Leadership; Leadership Is Not Management
Management is a very recently invented construct, but leadership has been around for centuries. We’ve conflated the two. Here’s a simple reference for pulling them back apart:
Manage Stuff. Lead People.”