Where have all the Managers gone?


Ever since the distinction was made between leadership and management- leadership somehow being portrayed as the important stuff and management being of secondary importance - attention has focused on leadership.

You only have to trawl through the business section of your favourite bookstore to see that 85% of topics and titles relate to leadership. Management?s importance is under emphasized and often seen as the less- glamorous administrative counterpart to leadership.

Management, in one sense is as old as man. The late great, Peter Drucker, known as the guru of gurus on management pointed out that all great business builders - from the Medici of Renaissance Florence and the founders of the Bank of England in the late 17th century down to IBM?s Thomas Watson in our day - had a clear perspective of the business which informed all their actions and theories.

Drucker was one of the first people to realize that companies are held together by a shared vision of the future - and that it is up to the manager to facilitate and communicate this process.

Indeed Machiavelli (1469-1527) is considered by many to be the first western management theorist. Any executive exposed to corporate politics (i.e. every manager in the world) could do worse than read the The Prince with its advice about being "a great dissembler and pretender'.

Most companies are undermanaged and over led. Management and leadership are two sides of the same coin. Leadership without management is disconnected, because if you lead without managing, you don?t know what?s going on.

By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else. In this light, effective managing can be seen as engaging and engaged, connecting and connected, supporting and supported.

The global financial crunch highlighted not only excessive greed but a fundamental inability for individuals and organizations to manage their day to day activities. With too much focus on visions, strategies, and long term gain we forgot to spend time working on the small, important daily issues.

Leadership is currently facing many conundrums. To lead or to manage, to focus on the individual performance or team performance, to fire fight or to fire prevent?

John P Kotter in his book What Leaders Really Do makes a clear distinction between the two roles and in doing so helps to clarify for the manager the % of time needed for managing, for leading, and for daily activities.

He writes that over the last few decades, literally thousands of managers, consultants, and management educators have developed and refined the processes, which make up the core of modern management. These processes, summarised briefly, involve:

1. Planning and Budgeting - setting targets or goals for the future, establishing detailed steps to achieve targets, timetables and guidelines: and then allocating resources to accomplish these targets.

2. Organising and Staffing - establishing an organisational structure and set of jobs for accomplishing plan requirements, staffing the jobs with qualified individuals, delegating responsibility, and establishing monitoring systems.

3. Controlling and Problem solving - monitoring results versus plan in some detail, both formally and informally, by means of reports, meetings etc; identifying deviations, which are usually called "problems', and then planning and organising to solve the problems.

These processes produce a degree of consistency and order. Management was created to help keep a complex organisation on time and on budget. That has been, and still is, its primary function.

Leadership on the other hand is very different. It does not produce consistency and order, as the word itself implies; it produces Movement. Throughout the ages, individuals who have been seen as leaders have created change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

What constitutes good leadership has been a subject of debate for centuries. In general, we usually label leadership good or effective when it moves people to a place in which they and those who depend on them are genuinely better of, and when it does so without trampling on the rights of others. The function implicit in this belief is constructive or adaptive change.

Leadership within a complex organisation achieves this function through three sub-processes which can briefly be described as:

1. Establishing direction - developing a vision of the future, often the distant future, along with strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision.

2. Aligning people - communicating the direction to those whose

3. Motivating and inspiring - keeping people moving in the right direction despite major political, bureaucratic, and resource barriers to change by appealing to very basic, but often untapped, human needs, values, and emotions.

The IBM web site global/leading illustrates The Individual Management Model which clearly defines how every employee, no matter what their job function or title, would be able to operate an maximum efficiency by apportioning their time between the following three activities.

a. Leading others by setting direction, giving encouragement, or modeling the way.

b. Managing business and people processes by planning, organizing, directing, and controlling work activities.

c. Doing the technical, vocational, or administrative work themselves.

This then begs the question how to allocate the percentages for various levels and functions?

Let us look at an example of a cleaner at an airport. One of the major airlines has allocated a budget for the cleaners to meet as a team each quarter to decide how to spend the money on improved customer service.

The cleaner spends:
85% of the time Doing - washing, floors, toilets, basins.
10% of the time Managing - filing in the roster, ordering supplies etc
5% of the time Leading - deciding on how to improve customer service

The executive on the other hand would spend
10% Doing
40% Managing
50% Leading

The percentages are meant as guidelines and will vary for each job function depending on the outcomes expected, the maturity level of the individual, and the actual situation.

How should managers be developed?

If we are to assume that in our daily lives managing and leading are perfectly natural acts, then are we wasting time trying to create great managers and leaders?

Definitely not! The training room is a wonderful place to enhance the comprehensions and competencies of people especially when it draws on their own natural experiences. The training must provide self assessments, team discussions and activities, which will enable the participants to share life and work experiences, to learn and understand what others think and feel, and to build solid lasting colleague/client relationships.

Development programs must be designed and facilitated to help managers experience life changing moments of their experience, by reflecting on it personally and with colleagues.

These interventions, in order to have lasting impact, need to be:

Meaningful - Self awareness assessments, using sound common sense combined with experience, contain relevant content understood by all, and easy to transfer to the rest of the team

Motivational - Learning to listen for mutual understanding, how to collaborate, and to show empathy. Appreciating and applying the enormous value of reward and recognition.

Memorable - Combine interesting and challenging new concepts, with company culture and global appreciation when designing business models.

To be a successful manager and leader, maybe you don?t have
to be wonderful so much as more or less emotionally healthy and clearheaded.

Management challenges and values for the future

1. Global economy - the implication for leadership extends beyond economics and includes culture. Global leadership means global understanding and collaboration. However we must consider Global suggests that we all conform to the same values, principles, and standards. However cultures, countries, even companies have their unique, individual origins and roots - do we discard these?

Mintzberg in his book "Managing? suggests that worldly might be a better approach. Worldly is identified in the Oxford dictionary as "experienced in life, practical, sophisticated'. T S Elliot suggested that managers should be exploring ceaselessly in order to return home and know the place for the first time.

2. A changing workforce - many notions of loyalty and job security are extinct. How can you build a workplace where people trust each other and the organisation? How can you build a workforce where people believe they will be treated with dignity and respect?

3. Accommodate the "Millennial' generation - Students and younger workers show an intense search for meaning, social responsibility and enhanced degree of global concern - workers believe they can and will make a difference. How can organisations provide a climate for people to bring their souls to work, not just their heads and their hands?

Future generations see global forces (other economies, markets, and competitors) as opportunities not threats.

4. Use technology to develop a culture of speed, and encourage strenuous self-development.

Marlene WardThere is no doubt in today?s work place with a better educated, younger workforce there is a critical need for everyone to take their place as a manager and a leader. As long as organizations continue to nurture talent, to encourage all employees to take on the responsibility of leadership and management, and to allow for learning from mistakes and successes, we will create a new breed of confident, contributing, competent managers.

Management is not to control people. Rather it is to let them collaborate. There is a sense of respecting, trusting, caring and inspiring, and my pet subject, listening. With effective communication at all levels, a culture of reward and recognition, training and development, we will encourage the managers to emerge, stronger than ever, willing to embrace challenges, partner with clients for mutual success, collaborate on a global scale, behave in a worldly manner, and create an environment where everyone can earn the right to act empowered.

Author: Marlene Ward spent over three decades at IBM (South Africa), and is now one of their preferred suppliers. She has become one of the foremost facilitators of management/leadership development programmes. These intervention processes are designed to identify and incorporate the power of an individual?s talents, strengths and sound common sense, in order to achieve uncommon results. Her achievements include Distinguished Toastmaster, Past President of the JHB Professional Speakers Association, author, trainer, and speaker.

More details about Marlene Ward here or via email [email protected]