All employees manage themselves whenever they prioritize their work. They manage their time, finances, careers and other personal resources. Management is therefore simply a matter of doing things in an organized manner, one that enables us to achieve goals in a way that achieves the best return on the investment of our time and talent. Clearly, we can manage ourselves with any style that works for us.
Managers, as role-occupants, apply the same principles of management that we apply to ourselves. The only difference is that they have more resources, including people to manage.
When managing intelligent knowledge workers, managers need to get the best return on this talent. This can mean being empowering, nurturing, developing and supporting them. Style is thus totally situational. There is no reason why managers can't be inspiring - they inspire employees to work harder while leaders inspire them to change direction.
Managers, so conceived, aren't committed to preserving the status quo. They can either decide upon new strategies or foster innovation by creating an innovative culture or by asking employees what they think frequently and regularly.
On this view of management, managers make ALL decisions, strategic as well as operatonal. isn't this what leaders are supposed to do? Well, this is another story, but if leadership is genuinely an influence process then making decisions for others can't be leadership because deciding for people is not an influence process.
Management works by deciding what to do, how to do it and by facilitating the work of others. This can include setting up self-managing teams, empowering employees, developing them and motivating them. To get tasks done, they can delegate, but to get mental work done, they need to ask "What do you think?" This is the best way of stimulating knowledge workers to solve problems and to think more creatively.
- Management is reinstated to take a bigger share of the load, with leadership, of driving organizational success. It is a positive function, not a transactional, controlling one.
- Management is not, in the first instance, a role, so all employees can manage themselves using the same principles.
- All employees can show leadership by promoting a better way or by example because it is not a role either and doesn't involve deciding for others. It can only work by influencing them to adopt a better way. This is what Martin Luther King did when he influenced the US Supreme Court to outlaw segregation on buses. This is also how bottom-up leadership works, such as when employees succeed in persuading management to adopt a new product idea.
- Organizations become less top-down with the leadership load more widely distributed and shared, bearing in mind that while only the CEO can make the final decision, many employees can influence the CEO's decision, thereby showing leadership in so doing, leadership being a matter of influence, not decision making.
- Like management, leadership is not committed to any particular style. Given that it's function is merely to influence change, it can use an inspiring vision, logically or quietly stated facts or even an abrasive style. It is all about what works to get a particular audience on board. A vision may be necessary in the context of human values, as in politics, but hard evidence may be sufficient in technical contexts.