From my friend at “today’s manager”, this post is worth a read! Most of my students aspire to be leaders of the future. I applaud these aspirations, and talk a lot about the importance of leading. Leadership is an attribution (see earlier post on attribution) made by followers, not a position. You are only a leader if you have a followership! Followers are not people being poked and prodded into doing the work of the organization, they are willing participants in the building and maintenance of our organizations outcomes. But you can’t be an effective leader without the skills of managing. An effective manager is someone who can organize business processes and who is responsible for directing and controlling the work of the business through his/her people.
In business school most every management book breaks down the functions of management as: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Note that “leading” in only 1/4th of the formula. This generation of newly minted college graduates needs to think about building their managerial competencies as they prepare to lead others. Only then will they make a difference in their working world. You can’t “just lead”, and our favorite TV sitcom character Michael Scott (The Office) strikes a cord with us because we see so clearly that he wants to lead his team, but does not have the skills to manage the office.