by Dr. David Robinson
The majority always seem to favor the tried, proven and comfortable ways of doing things and to oppose taking risks that are always outside the managerial box. This conservatism and active inertia provides a path to power for developing managers that keep organizations locked into today and yesterday.
This bureaucratic culture, while insuring competence and control, stifles imaginations and creativity that always accompanies strategic leadership. Leadership inevitably is what the managerial mindset fights the most. The need to hedge these risks is what keeps most organizations in a collective managerial mindset and resistant to entrepreneurial leadership.
.Every organization must constantly balance the need for competent managers and the selection and development of strategic leaders. The pursuit to supply managers, those who assume practical responsibility, may be the very thing that inhibits the opportunity for those gifted to create the future and the leadership to get there.
Managers live to create a comfortable work environment through control and systems and rightly so. Leaders live to create the future through imagination and creativity. The healthy tension between the two keeps every organization flourishing and creates a great place to serve.
Managers and leaders think about the same things – but in different ways. For instance, take attitudes towards goals. Managers view goals as a production and control tool, while leaders see goals as a way to shape thinking and create the future.
Their conceptions of work differ, too. Managers see work as enabling people and providing processes for a given end. They work at coordinating and balancing opposing views on how things should be done. They limit choices and constantly seek compromise in finding solutions.
Leaders, on the other hand, develop fresh solutions for long-standing problems. They never have too many options and keep the door open as long as needed before choosing a final course of action.
Creative risk-takers are critical to every organization if those organizations want to remain relevant and resonant. Yet most organizations remain persistent in developing managers, control thinkers, and remain resistant to developing leaders – creators of the future.
Every management problem is first a leadership failure and requires a strategic solution. Everyone can think about the solution, but only a strategic leader can provide a sustainable solution and implement the strategy.
Vision is something managers talk about but leaders use it as a tool for creating the future. Vision is the hallmark of strategic leadership but a problem managers see that must be solved.
My experience tells me the uncertainties of potential chaos caused by strategic leaders is seldom the problem. Instead, the managerial instincts to impose order is what keeps organizations locked in: “We’ve never done it that way and why start now?”
Recruit managers to develop order out of the chaos leaders create. Never allow managers to limit or stifle creative leaders. If you do, it won’t be long and the managers will be out of a job because there will be nothing to manage.