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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Great Leaders, Ineffective Managers Syndrome

By Sam Kariuki

As a trainer I come across a lot of discussion trying to distinguish Leadership from Management. I
have read many books that focus on this subject. If you listen to a lot of talk over and over again you are likely to conclude management is evil, leadership is holy; management is useless, leadership is everything; management is common, leadership is rare; management is about efficiency, leadership is about effectiveness; our problems are leadership issues, not management problems, management is boring, leadership is cool. I have a contrarian view.

Leadership and management are two key organs of the same animal- Whether you call it manager or leader is up to you.

 You can call leadership liver and management the heart. Leadership the head and management the hands. Leadership the eyes, management the legs. Leadership the brain, management the lungs. When you have this view then you will see it is ridiculous to talk of one as being more important than the other. Idolizing leadership and demonizing management.

Based on my interactions with many organizations as a strategist, consultant and trainer I have found as much failure in leadership as in management. In fact, most problems that hurt organizations today in Kenya are management problems – not leadership problems.

Effective management get things done the right way to deliver the right quality and quantity of results. It is about making the right decisions, prioritizing initiatives and getting the highest results from available resources.

The pattern I have seen among the SME's having an turnover of over Kshs 50Million is a business having a highly entrepreneurial leader with great people skills and great vision on where the organization is supposed to be.However this entrepreneur struggles to execute this vision. This is due to her ineffective management skills or lack of people in the organization with these skills.

Many so called managers in SME's are super employees. Loyal and great performers in their own right. People of good intentions and honest in their actions. But highly incompetent as managers. While a position and title is essential the skills to perform as an effective  manager cannot be acquired together with the title. Having people report to you doesn’t mean you are effective manager. Being a manager is not a reward for good performance. It is an important responsibility to get the right things done the right way.

The appreciation of your role as a manager and the know-how to execute on each of these roles is an art that one needs to learn and master. It is a journey laden with ups and downs. It is a commitment that has a price.  You could have been born a leader but you cannot be born a manager. You have to learn how to be one.

To be a great leader you need to be a great manager or you need to surround yourself with great managers. You need to be conscious of the fact that you are a leader manager or manger leader. You need to be aware of the fact that being great on one doesn’t compensate weakness in another.
My last word is beware of the great leader, an ineffective manager syndrome that is hindering so many businesses from realizing their full potential.

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