Sunday, 20 January 2013

Leading people is wise. Trying to manage people is dumb.

This Sunday's sparkenation - Leading people is wise. Trying to manage people is dumb. Previous sparkenations here.

According to Wikepdia the verb manage comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle — especially tools), which in turn derives from the Latin manus (hand). The French word mesnagement (later ménagement) influenced the development in meaning of the English word management in the 17th and 18th centuries.

How did we go from the above to trying to manage people? Good question.  I don’t know! Industrial revolution thinking and believing people can be treated like machines are part of the answer.  In the 21st century we can lead people but not manage them.  See my article Stop Trying to Manage People here.

"You manage things; you lead people."
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
Peter Drucker

I meet many so called leaders who still feel the need to plan, organize, direct and control (manage) their people.  A better path to travel is to inspire and influence (leadership), have agreed boundaries, co-create great systems and processes (management), and let people loose.

My own definitions of leadership and management:

Leadership is the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Leadership falters and often badly without management.

Management is the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Get your leadership and management right.  It changes everything for the better in your organisation.  Leadership is fundamentally about people.  Management is fundamentally about systems and processes that are good for people in bringing their best to their work.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian


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