I’ve been doing a lot of reading, writing and discussing of leader vs. manager.

Some schools of thought assert there are distinct administrative models: one being purely managerial, and another being purely leadership. If this is the case, is one better than the other?

Alan Murray, author of The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management (HarperBusiness, 2010), asserts that these two models go hand in hand, so trying to separate them is detrimental. One approach, on its own, is insufficient for success. To create an optimal administrative strategy, you must blend the two.

You don’t have to look far to see greater pressures and shorter deadlines in today’s commerce. As technology continues to accelerate, we’re conditioned to expect instant results, and tolerance for excuses has dropped sharply. I hear people joke that faster processes cause mistakes to happen faster, and there’s some truth to this.

There’s little, if any, slack for workers to step back and catch their breath. These conditions require more of the manager model, with an administrator who takes the reins and keeps everyone on track. In the heat of the moment, we need pragmatic solutions more than inspiration or vision. We rely on managers who have established short-term strategies and confidence in their own abilities.

Conversely, Murray points out, we face a new economy, where workers have developed perspectives that differ greatly from those of previous generations. Employees are prioritizing personal growth over project effectiveness, meaningful contribution over meeting standards, and a sense of purpose over organizational goals.

New administrative approaches are required to make the most of available talent and keep people engaged and productive. Every employee must grow professionally, regardless of level. Managers must therefore have the right leadership skills and know how to develop people.

A widely accepted management framework based on Henri Fayol’s early 20th-century model, (which I wrote about, here), calls for four administrative functions:

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Leading
  4. Controlling

Planning has short- and long-term aspects. Short-term planning accounts for the process, manpower and timing needed to meet organizational objectives (what effective managers do). Long-term planning accounts for the vision and strategy needed to grow the company and enhance its purpose (what successful leaders do).

Organizing utilizes management skills to plan projects, provide resources and initiate processes.

Leading comprises four additional building blocks:

  1. Communicating
  2. Motivating
  3. Inspiring
  4. Encouraging

Each component is driven by a leader’s interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence—the softer skills that draw people to a cause. Well-rounded managers hone these skills and demonstrate an optimum blend of leadership and managerial efficiencies.

Controlling keeps projects on time, monitors the quality and quantity of work performed, and adjusts to scope changes or setbacks.

What do you think? What is your administrative model? Do you have the perfect blend of leader and manager skills? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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