Managers, Leaders, and Succession Planning
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One of the most enduringly debated topics among organizational theorists is the issue of management and leadership. Are managers inherently different than leaders? Can managers become leaders? Is leadership capability something that comes naturally, or can it be taught and developed in anyone willing to learn, apply, and grow?
Despite the difference of opinions on whether leaders are made or born, there is clear consensus on the differing role and function of managers and leaders. And in the fact that organizations need both.
Consider an enterprise with strong, visionary leadership and weak, ineffective management. Exciting plans are created, resources allocated, and measures are put in place only to see the implementation lag due to lackluster management. Frustrated leaders often jump in and take on the tactical implementation themselves. While this can bring the desired results in the near term, it can be exhausting while stunting the growth and development of managers who are denied the opportunity learn, grow, and take on responsibility and accountability.
Conversely, timely, effective execution of a flawed strategy is almost certain to bring disappointment and failure.
While it is generally accepted that “leadership” is reserved for the C-Suite and in particular, the CEO, there is the open question as to whether the title alone assures leadership capability. Leadership is often easier to study and observe than it is to provide.
Management on the other hand is easier to define, understand and measure. But can managers become leaders? Are the traits and characteristics required for leaders already in place among managers with potential? If so, how are these identified so that the potential can be fully developed? And what are the steps, processes and systems that facilitate that development?
While these may seem to be complex, even daunting questions, they can be made less so by taking positive action sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, many businesses wait until succession is at hand and then scramble to identify candidates to move forward. There is a better way.
Committing to organizational learning goes beyond job-specific training. It begins with comprehensive managerial and supervisory development programs and moves forward to the identification of the leadership traits and characteristics of your key people. Tools like the Harrison Assessment can help uncover unique strengths and interests and can point the way forward to maximize the potential of your team members.
For more information on how you can get started with your organization’s supervisory, management and leadership development process, contact me a email@example.com
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.