We need more Leaders. Management is NOT Leadership

We need more Leaders. Management is NOT Leadership

Leadership is a choice. It’s not a rank, it’s a choice. I know many people who are at the top of their organization who have authority. We have to do what they say because they have authority over us. But they’re not leaders. We wouldn’t follow them. They may be at the top of the company but they’re not leaders.

Simon Sinek

We need more Leaders and management is NOT Leadership. When I hear the word Management it sort of reminds me of Charlie Chaplin’s classic movie”Modern Times”, maybe because of my experience on the production floor but also because over the years what I have seen being done in the name of management is a massive “Mismanagement”.

Now coming back to the topic. Management is about manipulating the resources in the right way to get a known job done. Restaurant owners hire managers, Celebrities have managers, McDonald’s franchises hire Managers too. Managers know exactly what they need to deliver, the process is already well established and standardised and they are given resources to do it at a low cost. Managers manage a process they’ve seen before, and they react to the outside world, striving to make that process as fast and as cheap as possible.

Here’s a scene from Modern Times (1936)

A thesaurus may suggest that the best synonym for leadership is management. Maybe it used to be but it no longer is. Leadership is not management. Leadership is all about, bringing about a change that you believe in. Leaders create a cause and causes make things happen. Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make a change.

Why do we need a Change? Isn’t it scary? No, It’s scary to not change. So here we are. We live in a world where we have the power to make things happen, the ability to do work we believe in, and the marketplace is begging us to be unique, remarkable, to be a unicorn. And yet, we are stuck. Stuck following archaic rules. Even in our personal lives, we have to obey archaic laws: Go to school. Get a Job. Get Married. Have Children. Retire. Wait for death. But it doesn’t stop there we are stuck in industries that not only avoid change but actively fight it. Stuck in fear of what our parents, neighbours, society and boss will say, designers are stuck too, we design stuff that’s not sustainable and it’s destroying the planet for the sake of industrial greed, bankers are stuck and shackled to satisfy the Wall Street.

We are stuck because we’re afraid we’ll get into trouble. Most of all, we’re stuck acting like managers or employees, instead of like the leaders we could become. We resemble a factory instead of a community. That’s one more reason why this whole topic reminds me of Modern Times. The Fear of change in a mega factory is appropriate where standardisation is the key to efficiency and synchronicity and that saves the day. But again what does Darvin say about those who don’t evolve? Let me whisper it to you: they perish”. Today the fear of change has become our enemy; it’s now the thing standing in the way.

“How was your day?” is a question that matters a lot more than it seems. It turns out that the people who like their jobs the most are also the ones who are doing the best work, making the greatest impact, and changing the most. Changing the way they see the world, sure, but also changing the world. By challenging the status quo, a cadre of heretics is discovering that one person, just one, can make a huge difference.

Seth Godin

Leadership is about belief in an idea and in creating a cause and a community around it. Do you believe in what you do? Every freaking day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy. A community feeds on the beliefs, persona and the standard the leader sets and expresses for himself in his thoughts, words and deeds. He has nothing else. He doesn’t pay someone to follow him. He doesn’t have the sceptre of threat that the manager exploits.

This global pandemic has shown to us three very important things:

1. Many people are starting to realize that they work a lot, often without any job security and benefits and that working on stuff they believe in (and making things happen) is much more satisfying than just getting a paycheck and waiting to get fired (or die).

2. Many organizations have discovered that the factory-centric model of producing goods and services is not nearly as profitable as it used to be. Furthermore treating employees like emotionless robots is not going to work anymore.

After the Great Resignation in the USA, where 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021, across an array of industries, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, tells TIME. “[Employees] don’t want to return to backbreaking or boring, low wage, sh-t jobs. Workers are burned out. They’re fed up. They’re fried. In the wake of so much hardship and illness and death during the past year, they’re not going to take it anymore.”

3. Many consumers have decided to spend their money buying things that aren’t mass-produced commodities, to support the producers, creators and issues they care about, to spend their time and money on fashion, on stories, on things that matter to them, and on things, they believe in.

It’s simple: there are tribes everywhere now, inside and outside of organizations, in public and in private, in nonprofits, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection. This is an opportunity for you—an opportunity to find or assemble a tribe and lead it. The question isn’t, Is it possible for me to do that? Now, the question is, Will I choose to do it?

Seth Godin

The boom in the usage of social media channels, combined with the increased leverage of individuals within organizations as well as within society, makes it possible for just about anyone to influence just about everything. Everyone can be a leader. Everyone can lead someone with their example, stories, experiences, products, humour, conduct, hobbies, art, interests etc. This means that anyone who wants to make a difference, can! Without leaders, there are no followers. You’re a leader! We need you! And if you like, you can start leading by sharing this article with someone you think could benefit from it. Namaste 🙏.