Flexible Leadership: Learning to Lead And Manage
It’s time to end the decades-long debate.
For many years, experts in leadership have been discussing the differences between management and leadership and which one is more effective.
Certain people believe that managing and leading are two distinct roles that have different traits and values. The conventional approach is that managers want stability as well as control and efficiency; however, leaders are more interested in flexibility, innovation, and adaptability. Managers are pragmatic and analytical, while leaders are creative, visionary, and emotionally.
Another viewpoint is that managing and managing are two distinct functions; however, both can be carried out through one person. The management’s role is to ensure the appearance of order and predictability, whereas managing aims to create changes in the organization.
Both roles are essential. However, there can be problems when one function is overemphasized. The strength of management alone could discourage the taking of risks and lead to a bureaucracy with no clear goal. Leadership alone is a powerful force that can cause chaos and bring about changes that are not practical.
The importance of leadership and managing is contingent on the current situation. As an organization grows and more complicated, the importance of management increases. As the external context becomes more unpredictable and dynamic, and unpredictable, the significance of leadership is increasing. Both roles are essential for leaders in large companies with a fast-paced context. However, it is apparent that very few executives are adept at managing and leading.
The notion that managing and leading are equally important isn’t new. However, there’s no precise explanation of how the two roles relate and how they impact the performance of an organization. The model of flexible leadership provides an understanding of the leading versus managing debate and outlines the way to a solution.
This is the Flexible Leadership Model
The model of flexible leadership identifies three distinct elements that influence the performance of an organization:
1. Reliability and efficacy of processes
2. Innovation and adaption
3. Human resources and relationships
An organization that is in business will be more likely to flourish and endure if it runs effective and reliable operations, offers the goods and services that customers need at a price they’re willing to pay, and is a leader in terms of commitment, skill, and trust among its members. The three factors that determine performance are interconnected in a variety of ways and determine the effectiveness of an organization.
The importance of every performance determinant at any time is contingent on the specific situation. Innovation is more crucial when the strategy of competition is to offer particular products or services and when there are frequent technological changes that are unpredictable, as well as customer preferences and the offerings of rivals. With the speed of global competition and technological advancement growth, rapid innovation is becoming increasingly important to adapt successfully by the majority of kinds of businesses.
Efficiency results in lower operating costs. This is crucial for companies with undifferentiated products or services that must keep low prices to keep customers. It’s even more critical for companies with many large customers that might require reductions in costs.
Human resources and relationships are crucial when a business requires high-motivated and skilled employees that aren’t easily replaced. There is evidence growing that the creation and retention of “human capital” are more influential on business performance than was previously believed. A study of more than 3,000 companies carried out by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that investing 10 percent of revenues for capital improvements improved productivity by 3.9 percent, and a similar increase in the human capital of a company increased efficiency by 8.5 percent.
Reframing the Controversy
The academics who debate the value of management and leadership have generally defined these roles specific manner. The definitions put these roles at the opposite ends of an arc, with stability and order at one end and changes and innovation at the other.
Regarding the performance factors, the standard definition of management is focused on the effectiveness of processes and their reliability. The standard definition of leadership stresses innovation and adaptation. This overly narrow definition makes it difficult to comprehend how these two roles can be merged.
Inordinate emphasis on one aspect can lead to negative consequences, but finding the proper balance is just one aspect of the equation. How roles are performed is just as important as how much they’re emphasized.
Guidelines for integrating the Manager and Leader Roles
Despite the plethora of books that have been published in recent times on management and leadership, there isn’t a magic formula that guarantees the success of your business. However, these guidelines will help you achieve more efficient integration of leaders’ and managers’ roles in businesses that operate in an energetic environment.
1. Increase awareness of situations
Situational awareness refers to understanding external influences that could affect the efficiency of an organization and the best strategies to work given the internal processes of the business and resources.
For example, it could be difficult for an executive to identify the root cause of a problem, make changes, and motivate engagement without a thorough grasp of:
* The common principles and values that form the culture of the business.
* Prior decisions and events which determine how the business came to the position it is today
* The impact that changes proposed might have on the work process and customers
* The political factors that influence the major decisions
To ensure a high degree of awareness, managers must have accurate and current information regarding the company as well as its members and the external surroundings. It is crucial to gauge crucial variables, and their alter as time passes. Leaders can get additional information through visiting facilities, watching the operations from afar, and interacting with customers, employees, and suppliers.
2. Embrace Systems Thinking
Understanding the many aspects that affect performance and the consequences of changing circumstances require the use of “systems analysis.”
In making decisions or determining the root cause of issues, It is crucial to comprehend how the various elements of the business are interconnected and what changes that are specific to a particular area might possibly have unexpected effects on other areas.
While thinking strategically about these topics might be more relevant for top-level managers, it’s a necessity for all employees.
3. Coordinate Leadership across levels and subunits
The success of a company is not solely based on the actions and decisions that the executive director takes but on cooperation, commitment, and coordination between every manager in the company. Management decisions taken by managers at various levels must be in line with one another as well as with the overall strategy of the company.
It’s challenging to create unidirectional coordination across all parts of an organization, particularly in cases where subunits perform distinct functions, markets, or subcultures. The formal plans and objectives can be helpful, but efficient coordination isn’t likely unless managers have shared values and ideals to guide judgments and guide their decisions. Businesses that have strong, shared values and beliefs regarding the primary purpose and mission of the company and the qualities that are desirable to their products and services and the way in which members are treated will be more likely to last and prosper for a long time. A significant responsibility for the top management team will be to make sure that their company is based on a valid core belief. However, all managers at all levels have to create support for the main philosophy and ensure that it is fully understood and utilized in daily decisions.
4. Be a Leader by Example
If top executives behave in prominent ways that highlight how important efficiency is, creativity, or human relationships and the results can be reflected throughout the company.
The consequences of a poor example can be as practical as setting a positive example. It is vital to keep the actions and decisions in line with the values that are proclaimed and the fundamental tenets of the company. Unscrupulous behavior and decisions influenced by selfish motives could undermine the trust and loyalty of employees.
Then, it’s all tied together.
Although there is no single method to achieve success, The model of flexible leadership requires us to think about all the relevant aspects while making decisions and making organizational changes.
The debate between leading and managing is ongoing because the roles are limited in scope, which makes it hard to comprehend how they impact the performance of an organization and how they can be combined.
Instead of asking if they require management or leadership to be successful, companies need to consider how they can integrate components of the two when the need demands it. Implementing the principles of a flexible leadership style can assist people at all levels to make better decisions, deal with an emergency and prepare to meet the demands that will come from new positions and new opportunities.