Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Management Versus Leadership

I'm very excited by the movement away from traditional management, the "because I told you so" school, and towards a more inclusive leadership style, the "lets' look at this together and understand why this is needed".

Management is concerned about achieving results.

Leadership is the process of developing and communicating a vision for the future, motivating people and gaining their commitment and engagement.

Managers have a defined role in an organization. It is formal and has authority by virtue of the position.

While, leaders exert an informal influence, they are role models who have no positional authority but are respected by their peers and thereby have "followers".

A manager can be a leader but a leader does not need to be a manager.

Employing leadership techniques in your management career will aid you in building a team that you can trust and who execute on what matters.

Issues are resolved faster and stay resolved longer when those affected play an active part in reaching the solution.

According to Terry Gillen in "Leadership Skills for Boosting Performance", the attributes of leadership are:

  • Vision
    • Managers maintain things, leaders change things.
    • Leaders have to be able to see in their mind's eye how they want things to be.
  • Integrity
    • Consistency, openness, honesty and respect for people are essential if you want them to follow you.
  • Determination
    • Leaders encounter more obstacles changing things than managers encounter maintain things by they do not give up.
    • They are so determined they persevere.
  • Believability
    • Integrity and determination combine with interpersonal skills to add to a leader's believability.
    • Another ingredient is enthusiasm. If you are not enthusiastic about your vision and your people, no one will believe in you.
  • Technical and Managerial Competence
    • You need to be good enough to avoid making a fool of yourself and losing too much doing things and managing processes.
    • You need to spend a good chunk of your time taking action to support your vision and values.
  • Interpersonal Skills
    • You will have to build rapport with people, influence them and sometimes be assertive with them.
  • People-Oriented
    • Effective leaders enjoy being with people, working with them and development them.
  • Positive Thinking
    • Leaders encounter obstacles. Positive thinking is the starting point of the determination that carries leaders through, over and around them.
    • Attitudes are contagious.
  • Walking the Talk
    • Walking the talk is an important part of integrity.
    • People can see you mean what you say and that you apply it to yourself.

So what does this have to do with testing? Everything!

Whether you are a manager or not, there is a great opportunity to become a leader in your team and in your organization.

Do at least one thing each day to give someone a feeling of uplift and confidence. Support those around you.

More importantly, being a leader means being engaged in the work, enjoying the work, and making a positive contribution. That's a much nicer place to be than just doing what you're told and waiting for the clock to strike home-time!


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