If there is a difference between the people in the corner office and the people on the factory floor you are in trouble. If you have a class structure, you are going to get eaten alive by your competitors. If your competitors’ people like their work and your people hate their work, and they just endure eight hours a day with you, your competitors are going to win. The importance of people is the key to the problem. You’ve got to get the right people, you’ve got to give them good training, give them good leadership, then you’ve got to focus them totally on the rules of the marketplace. . . .
It took me several years to get the word management completely out of everyone’s vocabulary. So many years had been spent programming it into everybody’s heads. Management. Leadership. There’s an awesome difference. You manage things; you lead people. [Emphasis supplied.]
H. Ross Perot, founder
of Electronic Data Systems Corp. and former member of the General Motors
Board of Directors, speaking
It is leadership, not management. Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about growing and enhancing. Too often we think of the manager as cop, referee, devil’s advocate, nay-sayer, and pronouncer. Instead, the supportive, effective leader is cheerleader, enthusiast, nurturer, coach, and facilitator.
Perot and Peters are referring to extreme cases of old-fashioned management using negative command power to direct mindless subordinates and inhibit their independent development. I call this inhibiting management. Fortunately, today a new type of manager uses his or her management skills positively to develop and nurture the growth of subordinates. I call this enhancing management. In fact, enhancing managers would hesitate to refer to those under their direction as subordinates, preferring the term assistants. So when I say management, I mean enhancing management and not inhibiting management.
The executive’s role is to leverage his or her own abilities by delegating to assistants. This means that executives have to motivate, train, supervise, and evaluate other people.
Yet how much training do the executives of most firms receive in developing and improving their executive skills?
Becoming an executive means changing occupations. Professionals elevated to executive level usually have no formal preparation for their new role. Being an executive is more complicated than being an assistant. On an operational level, executives fill the functions of management; that is, they set objectives, plan, identify problems, and make decisions as regards to their assistants. In addition, executives fill the unique functions of leader and developer of people.
Most professionals are dynamic, involved, and action-oriented. It is difficult for them to not have their hands on all projects in their areas. Delegation requires them to step back and give assistants room to operate — even fail. It is the only way for them to grow.
The key to success as an executive is to be both a good manager and a good executive. Successful executives use delegation to accomplish more than they could ever accomplish by themselves. The most important measure of executive effectiveness is the results produced by groups they head. The managers and supervisors in your firm are supposed to be executives. That means that their primary function is to get other people to do the work, i.e., get results.
Executives spend more time on managing people and making people decisions than on anything else, and they should.
Peter Drucker - from The
Frontiers of Management, Harper & Row,
The goal of training is to prepare people for their next assignment and for future increases in responsibility. This applies to you and to your staff. Training is the way to prepare people for not only their personal growth, but also for the growth of the firm.
As a manager, you have three choices:
To survive, a firm must choose one of the first two options.
David Cottle Consulting