Management By Inclusion: Which comes first, high quality leadership or high quality management?
Management as an occupation is a distraction to real leadership. Think of the one person you have had in your career that you admired most as a leader.
- What did she or he do that allowed her/him to earn your respect and admiration?
- Are these traits and actions hallmarks of high quality leadership or management?
Above all, managers who are the most effective in their positions also tend to be the best leaders. And the backbone of their positional authority is a broadly inclusive approach to leading rather than the alternative which can be viewed as exclusive, and at times, prejudicial, descriminatory practice.
More specifically, managers who are great enablers of Communities of Passion (CoP) tend to encourage feedback, listen carefully to all opinions, and embrace employees at every level of the operation, encouraging them to think for themselves, and more importantly, generate solutions to problems closest to where they occur.
Because of positional authority laced with titles in most operations, the burden for cultivating such inclusive environments rests at the very top. One cannot expect employees to carry the water for transcending the usual boundaries. It starts with the top reaching down all the way to the bottom of the operation and hoisting every one up with them.
Enabling your people is probably one of the most undervalued leadership traits, but the most important toward firing up communities of passion. Moreover, the ability to do so is way more art than science. Exceptional managers must have an uncanny ability to enable an inclusive vs. exclusive approach vis-a-vis leading their operations. The good news is that this can be learned, but more importantly must be practiced. The effect of distributing power - that is distribution of responsibility and corresponding authority can have a profound effect on empowering people to engage in solution finding across the board and at every level.
- Step 1- Recognize you have a problem
- Step 2 - Build out your ability to engage and listen to others
- Step 3 - Spend less time in your office and more time with your people on the shop floor
- Step 4 - ditch email as the main means of correspondence and communication in favor of in person or over the telephone discourse
- Step 5 - cast aside your thinking that because you are at the head of the operation that you must have all the answers, in fact you don't.
- Step 6 - Work with integrity - it's not enough to talk the talk. You must walk the walk, or risk being called out as a hypocrite