Managing versus Leading

At one of the places I was recently working in I was searching for management level training to engage employees identified as having the potential to move into leadership roles.  During the search I found a plethora of training programs for leaders and a shortage of training programs or workshops for managers.

Programs for leaders included community base training, post-secondary courses, and workshops.  Management training was less evident and tended to focus on supervisory roles within manufacturing related areas.

Given that good management is essential to the running of a business it begs the question where do managers go for the exposure and mentoring required to move up the ranks of the organization.  Traditional mentoring may provide a partial solution.  Mentors may or may not have knowledge or experience of other industries and may have a narrow point of view as to what works best.  In other words those who are mentored by individuals within their own organization may only receive a small piece of what good management looks like.

Leadership training on the other hand is part and parcel of training many programs, workshops, and community based programs.  It is well and good to develop leadership.  The truth is though businesses tend to require more followers than leaders.

The question arising is why the emphasis on leading over managing?  Management is a cornerstone of a sustainable business even in the world in which we live in where change, flexibility, and volatility are the norm.

It is a good question and one that requires reflection and contemplation.  The management of business is paramount.  Having people with a strong grounding in the business as leaders is also vital.  It would seem that the scale of emphasising one over the other must be realigned or balanced.

Training facilities and post-secondary institutions often scramble to provide training programs for  current or perceived business needs.  It would seem that the identification of a lack of leadership over the past decade or two has brought about the focus on the need for leading.  It is my suggestion that managing be put back on the training agenda and quickly.

In today’s world good managing is as essential as good leading.  Take a look around your workplace to identify where the gaps lie in terms of the overall functioning of the business.  Is it leading or managing?  Are there enough followers or too many pseudo leaders?  Are managers in evidence or have they been made redundant?  Lastly where are you in the spectrum of managing and leading?

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at