The new year is on very much and I trace back one of my initial blog titled 'The manager mania', where i briefly touched upon leadership and management. It made me think more in that direction and sharing my perspectives in this blog. Whether you are a corporate guy or a government employee,these two words are gaining more and more importance. At the same time attributes of leadership and management has gone through changes over time. What exactly do I understand by leadership? What is management? How different they are? How important for an individual to know about them? Read on.
What is leadership?
According to me 'Leadership' is all about setting a clear direction for a great vision by empowering and enabling individuals. It is more about understanding the present, visualizing the future and leading to the future. This term can be applied to any particular discipline. Some examples are 'corporate leadership' 'thought leadership' 'technical leadership' 'political leadership' 'personal leadership'. Depending on the discipline the vision and mission varies but the core principles remain the same.
Basically leadership comes only in two forms: Power leadership and Inspirational leadership. The former is more about tight control and top down approach. The leader is given certain authority or power to lead people. Adolf Hitler's leadership comes under this category. The later is more of bottom up where the leader leads by example by inspiration by setting example. Gandhi's leadership is a wonderful example for the same.
In today's world the inspirational leadership is more suitable and applicable because of two main reasons. First, individuals are much more aware of the happenings than ever before. In today's knowledge are the amount of information is in abundance and it empowers people. Second, the 'democracy' is emerging throughout the world which believes 'for people by people'. Because of the two reasons the world has moved to 'interdependence' state from the 'dependence' state. Individuals and countries are connected in terms of trade, bi-lateral relationships, sharing resources. From the psychological point of view, human brain is having left and right hemispheres. The right side of the brain is more intuitive, visual, imaginative and dream oriented and left side is about analytical, number crunching and execution. For individuals the right side of the brain plays more role when it comes to leadership.
Grilling down to personal level, leadership starts with taking 'responsibility' with a strong character which is driven by a dream or vision. Our Indian philosophy is an excellent resource for learning personal leadership. My first remembrance for leadership goes to my my childhood days, where I was taught wonderful verses from 'thirukkural' (two thousand years ago by thiruvalluvar). Later on I was exposed to 'Bhagavad Gita' and 'Artha Shastra' as well. All of them are mainly focused towards character building which is the foundation for leadership.
What is Management?
The word 'management' is all more about execution. It is a structured approach towards solving a problem in a optimized way. The leadership is all about 'focus' and management is about 'speed'. Focusing on a particular direction in a high speed is the only way to achieve the vision. This also means leadership and management goes hand in hand.
The Analytical thinking and optimization plays important role in management as management is all about methods and practices. The western world have designed wonderful, proved management techniques. They have built great organizations and corporations based on excellent management methods which generated huge amount of wealth in those countries. For example Hewlett-Packard has got Management By Walking Around (where managers work closely with engineers by walking in the shop floor) and GE's Fix-sell-or-close (The management principle introduced by Jack Welch for GE's businesses).
In conclusion, I would like to say leadership and management are two sides of the same coin. One looses value in absence of the other and they are two sides of the same coin. So let us take the leadership lessons from the Indian philosophy and management from western world. In a way this will 'synergy' between opposite corners of the world.