One of the most compelling definitions of leadership I have come across to date states, “Leadership is the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals” (cited from page 159 of Organizational Behavior, by Stephen Robbins and Timothy Judge). As far as the thousands of leadership definitions out there, this one has it all: Influence, the group, achieving, and of course, the vision. What I have come to observe is that most leaders, even great leaders, have the vision, the influence over the group, but often struggle with the achievement aspect of taking their vision from an idea into a reality that impacts their organization. In most organizations, this is where management comes into the picture—to enact and achieve results for the organization. Management is dedicated to the planning, execution, and closing of projects. Managers are traditionally operating within a structure, living in the near - term, and focused on the bottom line. If we can push for a culture of leader-managers though, we expect managers that are empowered to push the envelope, think through tasks and deliverables beyond their project completion with an eye dedicated on the impact on the organization. This focus requires values of boldness and innovation in management (traits held to be extremely valuable at Corner Alliance). A culture of leader-managers will be proactively seeking an understanding of the bigger picture and how their task literally builds the larger vision to support an organization.
If all managers have an expectation to push and innovate while all leaders have an expectation of delivery and follow-through, we would have far more effective organizations serving our communities. Are you a leader-manager or do you work in an organization of leader-managers? Is the organization thriving?