Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh No, Not Another Learning Experience

I have studied management for several years. I have learned how to handle difficult people. I have learned how to create and present performance reviews. I have learned how to deliver performance improvement plans. I have learned about motivating people, working with different personality types and effectively allocating resources.

What I am learning now is that there is a difference between management and leadership. I have been in management roles before and handled them pretty well. I was previously in what I thought was a management roll that I am now realizing was a leadership role and I failed. I learned things, but I failed. I now find myself in another leadership role. The difference this time is that I have come to realize that it is a leadership role and I have begun to realize the difference.

As I see it, a management role is about managing resources. It can be one of logistics - getting something to a certain place at a certain time to fulfill a certain need. It can be one of mediation - helping people to get along. It can be one of many things.

A Leadership role is similar in many ways to a management role but it is also very different. A leadership role often includes the management role but has an added element. That added element might be one of direction - devising a plan and setting goals. It might be one of innovation - figuring out new, better and more efficient ways to accomplish goals. It might be one of motivation, although this one is often part of a management role as well. It is most certainly one of getting people to respect, trust and follow you.

So, at what I thought was the end of a journey - gaining employment in management - where I might have the option of coasting to the finish is really the beginning of an entirely new adventure. I still have a lot to learn about management but I find that I have much much more to learn about leadership.

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