Friday, February 03, 2012

The Role of Leadership

Wally Bock discusses a topic that should be explored at staff meetings and elaborated on in job descriptions: "What if leadership wasn't a promotion?" An excerpt:

If we see leadership as a role, not a promotion or a position in the hierarchy, lots of things become possible. People can lead in situations where their strengths leverage the strengths of others and their weaknesses are irrelevant. Groups and teams can select a leader, instead of always having the leader selected from above. People can try out the role and decide if they like it and, if they don't, they can never do it again, with no stigma or career penalty.


Dan in Philly said...

!!!!! Excelty so.

A VP friend of mine would say leaders lead people, manager manage processes. In this light, a leader can be a manager, a manager can be a leader, but not necessarily. All competent employees should be prepared to lead, and should know how to lead, for one never knows what situation will call for it.

The keys to this are:
1) Understanding all of the roles of a team
2) Knowing at least somewhat how to perform all of these roles
3) Being willing to undertake any given role in any given situation.

The upside to this approach is not just a better allocation to human resources, but also a more effecient job being done overall, for when everyone knows the role of the leader, they are better followers, and vice versa.

Michael Wade said...


I'd add Peter Drucker's view that managers do things right and leaders do the right thing.

To varying degrees, most employees have leadership and management responsibilities.


Bob said...

But you have to be prepared to sometimes be a leader and some times a follower. This is where the problems occur. The hierarchy of dominance is hard to change in the pack mentality, it's easy to try and believe you can manage innate response to human social order. You can only try with intelligent rational people, yet many people are not intelligent or rational....

Michael Wade said...


That's a reminder of why hiring decisions are so important.