We hear so much about leadership lately. Lots of books, courses, programs, articles, speakers, conferences, consultants and many other resources are available to inspire leaders to be their best. I’m a big supporter of leadership development at all levels in an organization – any organization. In many cases, the underlying message is about self-reflective practice; the more one is aware of oneself and others, the more effective one’s leadership can be.
That said, not every leader is in a management position. Leadership as a topic has become fashionable. One hears so little of management training any more; it’s just not sexy. But the reality is that we need managers who can lead, and leaders who can manage. Sexy or not, both mindsets and skillsets are needed. Jim March of the Stanford Business School put it: “Leadership involves plumbing as well as poetry”.
So, back to the basics – with Henry Mintzberg’s book, Simply Managing, in which he describes the integrative and holistic role of a manager: “a job that is above all a practice, learned through experience and rooted in context. There is no ‘one best way’ to manage; it depends on the situation.”
He goes on to say: “Managers have to know a lot, especially about their specific context, and they have to make decisions based on that knowledge. But, especially in larger organizations and those concerned with knowledge work, the manager has to help bring out the best in other people, so that they can know better, decide better, and act better”.
I couldn’t agree more regarding the overarching role of a manager – to bring out the best in other people. To read my Actionable Books summary of Mintzberg’s book, Simply Managing, go here.