I find the evolving approaches to leadership and leadership-development fascinating. Even top business schools tend to shift their slant. I like the approach that believes there are basically three aspects to leadership – meeting the strategic needs, motivating the team to get there and bringing out the best in individuals within the team.
Another fascinating element is that of ‘leadership vs. management’. Both are essential. You can’t be a good leader if you aren’t a good manager – and the opposite also applies. Many ‘experts’ argue using various distinctions. For example, leadership is a ‘right brain’ activity and management is ‘left brain’. Others will argue that leadership is strategic whereas management is process-driven. Yet others say, leadership involves emphasising the needs of the team and the individuals and through them achieving ‘task’ whereas management emphasises the ‘task’. Another way of looking at it is that we have to build the future (leadership) while managing the present. If we don’t plan the future, the present will collapse in a heap. And if we concentrate only on the present, we will never get further. These differences go on and on.
To me, it is also very interesting that leadership involves persuasion where management has the sting of compulsion. For example, ‘if you don’t complete this task, you won’t be paid etc.’. Let’s look at an example where we use combinations of ‘leadership’ and ‘management’. In the last article I used Skabenga, a ‘Fat Cat’ as an example in the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ article. So let’s consider dogs this time!
Yesterday we became the proud owners of Kaiser, a beautiful two-year old German Shepherd dog. He came from a loving home where the owners are moving to a much smaller simplex where they aren’t allowed to keep big dogs. They were heartbroken at having to make this decision, but felt reassured that we’d give him the love that he is accustomed to.
In dealing with our new ‘child’, having to consciously apply all we have ever learnt about dogs, is fascinating. There has to be a combination of persuasion and compulsion. ‘Come Boy’ said in a soft, gentle tone encourages the dog to do what we want him to do. And that is essential. But at other times, the dog needs a sharp jerk on the ‘choke-chain’ (compulsion). So, a combination of both approaches is important. We have to simultaneously lead and manage our dogs to achieve best results.
We again enrolled the help of a ‘dog expert’, Adrienne Olivier who has been of great assistance to us over the years. We were concerned that our matriarch, a twelve-year-old GSD, Sabrena would not take kindly to the juvenile newcomer. And we were right. So, Adrienne carefully supervised both ‘playdates’ as a prelude to Kaiser coming to live with us. This is important in avoiding a crisis and building positive relationships that will last a (dog’s) lifetime.
If you have a look at Adrienne’s website, you’ll see that: ‘Adrienne’s passion and goal is to enhance the relationship between people and their dogs by not only helping them learn how to train using positive motivational methods, but to better understand their canine companions through education.’
I’m not implying that we should send in a dog trainer to help us with humans. But we can learn a great deal from the way they handle situations and help us to understand the dog’s head, heart and action. Isn’t it a pity that we don’t always manage the process of leading people into new positions in a similar way. By helping to build positive relationships we would have a far greater chance of success – for everyone!
So let’s consciously pay more attention to the needs of all parties while absorbing leaders or new team-members. And this applies to ‘the new kid on the block’, too! The benefits will be great!
For more information on ‘leadership development’ and ‘executive coaching’ please contact me - email@example.com, Phone: +27 33 3425432, Mobile: + 27 82 4993311.