Let me start by saying that every organisation needs leaders, managers and followers and that these roles might be interchangeable.  What is also important to know is that groups tend to perform better with a combination of willing followers, good managers and strong leaders.

In this article we are only going to zoom in on the manager and leader roles. See what is their role and what kind of behaviour and skills (should be) are essential to a successful organisation.

Traditionally, managers tend to implement what the top of the organisation gives them to implement. If we look at this fact, we can say that managers tend to act on a “passive” way – they look at what has to be done, make a plan and make sure that it is implemented throughout the organisation. The objective is to achieve the goals set in an (cost) efficient way. Often we hear managers complaining that the goals are not the ones they would set or that the top is far away from the employees and the needs of the company. For example, a new restructuring has to be set in place, fewer people –same amount of work. The staff often does not understand the management process between the leaders of the company and the managers, and thus feel disconnected and invisible.

Organisations need managers that are good in creating tracking systems, control and evaluating systems as to achieve the set goals. These people tend to look at achieving results and a linear process and they are good at it.

Leaders, on the other hand, are more inclined to take an active role in setting the goals in the first place.  Rather than accepting the goals provided by the organization, leaders are out creating the objectives or changing the ones previously set.  They continually see opportunities for new products, new services and new processes.

Leaders tend to look at the bigger picture and often change course if they see things changing in the market.  They often are seen as pioneers and or visionaries and many employees cannot follow their thinking. They are always looking for innovation, new things and getting their ideas out there. They might get bored at the level of implementation – that is why they have managers to implement things!

In principle, leaders are in charge of setting the course of the organisation and managers are in charge of creating processes that assure that the goals are achieved. The problem starts when the goals set are changed before they are achieved or in the middle of the implementation process. An organization without good management is doomed to be overtaken by competitors operating more efficiently, but an organisation efficiently headed toward the wrong goal is equally ill-fated.  That’s why we need both leadership and management.  The question is more about what kind of management and leadership the organisation needs and how objectives are communicated so managers can set goals. What kind of organisation are you leading? Are you taking your leader or manager role consciously? How effective are your leadership or managerial skills? And most important are you exercising the right role?

Burning question:

Q:   Why is it so hard to keep working on goals I really want to achieve?

A: Often people spend too much time thinking about wishing things –travelling, a new car, a better job, lose weight, find the balance between home and work… but is not very often we sit down and give it serious thought about how we are going to do it, what do we need, who can help me and why do I want this? What are the gains and losses when I achieve my goals? How much time do I need to invest? So when things get harder or our daily routine and needs kick in we “forget” or goals or push them to a later day.

When you are serious about achieving your goals:

  1. Remember why you started: ask yourself why did I want this? Often you will get the answer that will motivate you to keep your commitment
  2. Remember change is hard. Are you are serious about that new job, study or lose weight you need to name what are the things you need o change and how they will affect your life
  3. To help you keep your goal set them in such a way that they are specific, realistic and achievable
  4. Clarity gives you power. What will keep you focused when the obstacles appear is knowing what the benefits of achieving this goal are. Take the time to sit down and really put some thought into what will achieving your goal bring you, what you would like more of in your life.
  5. Take action!. You do this by creating an action plan. Your action plan breaks your goal down into a series of bite-sized achievable goals. The benefit of breaking goals down is it eliminates any excuses you can use when the going gets tough.
  6. Find someone willing to hold you in difficult moments, someone who will make you accountable and enjoy your success.