Managing vs. Leading, Part Two

In Part One we explored the characteristics of leaders and managers. But couldn’t any organization streamline and be more efficient by having one or the other instead of both? Good organizations have individuals who excel in each role. And thriving organizations have found a way to celebrate both managers and leaders, helping them to coexist in healthy tension.

Managers need leaders to take them forward into new territory. An unchanging organization will be a withering organization in no time. While managers are looking closely at the mechanics of running a company for profitability and efficiency, leaders are looking up and sniffing the wind. What changes are coming within our industry? How can we adjust to stay relevant?

Leaders need managers to give their lofty dreams walking papers. A leader may see the direction needed for the organization but likely doesn’t take into account the many implications of a change in direction. A manager can come alongside to anticipate and mitigate the ripple effect of change. They can help determine the financial and personnel cost. They can create systems to enable growth, evolution and hazard avoidance. They bring order to chaos.

Successful organizations recognize the benefit of both roles in taking the organization forward. They acknowledge the tension that comes from having the “what-if” and “yeah-but” people at the same table but celebrate the synergy that occurs when they listen to one another and find a workable plan. We need each other with our different talents and viewpoints. We need to trust our leaders and their hunches. We need to trust our managers and their plans.