Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Developing management and leadership skills in others – 1: starting a new series

Posted in HR and personnel by Timothy Platt on January 8, 2012

I recently posted a thought piece on leadership, as one more contribution to an ongoing if occasional topic I have been posting on (see Making Leadership Not Just About You.) I write this posting and in fact the series that it initiates with that in mind, and with a second specifically relevant posting in mind too – The Power of Leadership as Mentorship.

As any reader of this blog would already know, I see mentoring as one of the core virtues and requirements of true leadership. Leaders have to think ahead and beyond their time in a position of authority and responsibility. Leadership creates value for the here and now, but more than just that, it builds foundations for the future too. And the most valuable assets we have in this come from the people we work with and from their potential to live up to the fullest of their capabilities. This is my first installment in a series that I admit I am still actively planning through as I write this, that seeks to explore some of the issues of leadership as it involves training others to be leaders too. I draw a relatively sharp distinction between management and leadership in this and will in fact be discussing both here – and with an emphasis on sharing skills and experience in them with others.

I want to begin this series by offering at least tentative distinctions between management and leadership.

• Management is about operational goals and processes, and about meeting timelines and deadlines in getting required work done. Managers work with and direct the activities of others in doing this. But the focus of their effort as managers is goals and performance centered and on meeting direct, immediate organizational needs.
• Leadership is all about the people involved in this ongoing endeavor. Leaders create and sustain an organizing vision as to what has to be done, that brings others together to achieve it. In this, leadership is not necessarily about charisma or having it as a personal quality. It is, however, about communications skills and character, and of being a person who others would listen to and follow, and willingly – without need of any outside pressures to do so.
• In that any effective leader has to be an effective manager too, but many managers who can reach operational goals and schedules are poorly equipped to lead. They may know where their teams are headed but no one else necessarily does, at least from them. Or they cannot instill a sense of trust and reliability to always do the right thing for the people they do lead.

I will be elaborating on points made and alluded to in those bullet points in series installments to come, as well as delving into to areas.

By quick and rough count I currently have 22 postings showing, between Business Strategy and Operations and Business Strategy and Operations – 2 that have the word “leadership” in their title. I will be adding this series into HR and Personnel as this general topics area belongs there too and this side to leadership definitely does.

My next installment in this series is going to look into some of the issues of finding a mentor, and finding a mentee – a good candidate for mentoring.

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