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What’s Piqued My Interest - 04.01.10

While I was reading this past week I noticed a few themes popping up. The first theme looks at leadership and management.

Wally Bock from Three Star Leadership wrote a post this week about new leaders. It is often the case that people who are exceptionally good at a technical skill will be promoted to positions where their technical skills are no longer the focus of their work. This usually occurs when the promotion involves becoming a leader. All it takes to be a leader are followers. Once new leaders have followers they often struggle with what to do next. In this post, Wally shares some helpful thoughts for new leaders.

Esther Derby from Esther Derby Associates wrote a great post on management and leadership and wonders if there is a false dichotomy there. While I believe there are differences in the concepts, I also think the discussion too often takes an either-or stance with management given, at best, neutral, though often negative, associations. Far from either-or in practice, leaders must manage because leadership without management is all talk, and managers must lead because management without leadership has no heart. If you have been reading along you will remember that the first substantive post on this blog, On Feeding Souls and Soldiers, was a look at positive aspects of management and how management and leadership must work hand in hand. In response to the comment I left on her blog, Esther left a link to another leadership versus management post she wrote that I liked even more than the first. It shows, using a very clever rhetorical device, how most times people with followers must use both leadership and management skills to get the best possible outcomes.

In a continuation of the leader/manager theme, Gordon Clogston of LeadershipCourseware.com asks if leadership and management are really just two sides of the same coin. Gordon concludes that they are… sometimes. In the end it depends on the person, the person’s role, and the skill set that person has.

Middle managers require the greatest amount of leadership/management ambidexterity. Line managers can probably get away with focusing on managing outcomes and executive leaders can surround themselves with fastidious managers if they prefer to focus on long-term planning and corporate vision. Middle managers, however, need to be politically adept and they need to know how to influence through referent (personal) power as well as legitimate (position) power. Middle managers need to inspire and motivate, but they also need to keep score. John Baldoni wrote a love note to middle managers this week and explains how leading up from the middle can bring dramatic change to organizations.

To read more about good uses of both referent and legitimate power, click over to Skip Weisman’s blog and read his second post on power (for the first see Champion Leadership #19). In this post, Skip talks about his little league days and describes how his coach wielded power in a way that served both the team and the individuals. His story reminded me of the greatest coach I ever had: my grandfather. I will save the personal anecdotes about my grandfather for another blog and instead suggest that you read Skip’s post on power and leadership to understand how and when to use personal and position power. You might even read a bit about my grandfather if you scroll to the comments section.

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