Any organisation needs both leadership and management.  ‘Doing the right thing’ and ‘doing things right’ is a quick summary of the difference.  Doing the right thing implies a sense of vision and purpose – where are we going, what are we aiming for and why.  Doing it right suggests efficiency and effectiveness: the how and the what questions of process and method.

The vision may be something unattainable or at least very long-term.  So what does it mean in reality?  Breaking it down into aims or goals helps as long as they remain visionary in the sense of inspiring and exciting. 

A vision needs values in support.  What is important to the organisation in how it works out its vision?  What will it do and what will it resist?  A vision realised at any cost, in any way, is not good enough for most organisations.  So honesty, integrity, equality, partnership, accountability, responsibility often emerge as values.  The values dictate how the vision is worked out through its mission.

Mission is the purpose and to some extent the approach of the organisation, what it’s all about generally rather than in detail.  The organisation structure tends to follow the mission and therefore as that changes, so will the structure. 

Strategy is the long-term plan of action to meet the aims of the organisation identified in its mission to achieve its vision underpinned by organisational values.  Strategic management is then how to implement the plan of action most effectively – doing things right.  Strategic management is longer term or at a higher level than day-to-day or operational management.  It is essential for an organisation to prosper and for people to flourish in the work-place that management is effective both at operational and strategic levels.  Both are necessary in the same way that we need to see at near and far distance. 

So what makes for good leadership?  Kouzes and Posner in ‘The Leadership Challenge’ identify five practices of exemplary leadership:-

  • Model the way – act and behave according to their spoken values
  • Inspire a shared vision – have a vision for the future and able to gain support
  • Challenge the process – encourage innovation, learning and are unafraid of failure
  • Enable others to act – foster collaboration, delegation and empowerment
  • Encourage the heart – show appreciation, recognition and promote celebration

An alternative although similar summary of leadership from 3D HR is to be ACE:

  • Articulate the vision – help people know why, what and how to deliver
  • Challenge what is done and how it is done – create a learning organisation
  • Encourage, empower and enable – develop teamworking and personal development

Leadership is not confined to the Chief Executive of the organisation.  An effective leader will encourage leadership at all levels of the organisation so that managers become team leaders within their sphere of influence and exhibit the traits of good leadership.

Ref: Kouzes J & Posner B (2002): The Leadership Challenge (3rdEdition). ISBN:0787968331 

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