OK. I’ve made a big mistake. Some years ago I developed a fantastic and successful leadership and management training program, and even wrote a workbook to complement the training, Leadership in the New Economy. Along the way I decided to call it a manager as coach program, since it appeared to train managers in organizations to become coaches with their employees.
I’ve found that interest in training managers as coaches is not as keen as training someone to become a leader. See, leaders can make things happen. So what’s the mistake? Managers, well, they manage and are viewed as risk averse. Leaders are viewed as risk takers. Think “EXCITING” and “STEADY.” What’s your preference?
Are Managers Really Boring?
What I realized however, is that some people view managers differently than leaders; that managers, by virtue of their focus on following process inhibit change, creativity, initiative, and innovation; that they don’t, well, they don’t lead. Sounds scary huh? Well, let me ask you
- do we need managers to bring our businesses to growth and success in this new economy?
- or do we need leaders; leaders who will work with their employees to create a vision for growth and success?
See, I have always had a problem with trying to distinguish a really great leader from a really great manager. To me, they’re synonymous, if that is what you focus on developing in the leader as manager. Yes, the leader as manager, or to satisfy others, call it the manager as leader. What’s the difference you say?
Are the terms interchangeable, and if so, what are the differences? Let me ask you – if the objective to each term is the same – is there a difference? I will argue that there is not. And I don’t need reference to dictionary definitions – I’ve read them.
Seeking Convergence and a New Paradigm in Management
I’m not going to develop a long-winded justification for either. What I am going to do is advocate for both. Why – because we need someone to advocate for the convergence of the terms, the values, and the need in business big and small to embrace the opportunity that exists when we unleash the initiative, innovation, and motivation potential that exists within our workforce.
See, I already can see, as pundits argue that we are 2+ years into the recovery from the “great recession” that it’s going to be a long time before the economy grows like it did prior to the recession. The assumption is that there has been little change in the way we do business, so, the growth patterns will be slow due to that lack of change.
Do we need to agree with that point of view? Or can we truly develop a different approach to business leadership?
If we allow the collective capabilities of those who produce and serve to restrict their initiative, their intuition, their interest in change for the better – well, the recovery will be slow and altogether not much different than what nearly ground the economy to a halt 4+ years ago. And it may take quite a few years more to recover!
The Leadership Coach
When I speak of a leadership coach – the leader as coach – I am strongly suggesting that our business owners need to be willing to lead their staff to exercise their initiative, intuition, and interest in change. Learning how to lead and coach is a crucial factor in enabling employees to innovate and take initiative, and engaging that owner as a manager is a key piece in accomplishing this objective.
And to move our collective economies into a new paradigm of growth and prosperity.
Am I losing a bit of my marbles? I think it’s critical that a new leadership paradigm develops that merges the leader and manager within business into a leadership coach so that the employees we bring into our corporate midst can evolve each business and our economy with their talents, values, and behaviors – as well as their zeal and zest for initiative and change. Call me an idealist – I can handle it.
Are You Ready To Change Focus?
If you are ready for a change in focus, if you are ready to develop a leadership and management structure within business that leads, guides, and manages employees by using successful coaching methods then let’s begin to train those who run our organizations to become visionary leaders as coaches, and let’s redefine what a traditionally viewed manager, supervisor, and leader – yes leader – is able to do by learning how to enable and unleash the full extent of employees within business.
I have faith that it can be accomplished – and am willing to help others to acquire the faith and determination to succeed. You game? Then let the dialog begin.