Leadership is a trait. And in today's post pandemic world, you need management through leadership. Especially in the creative cognitive worker of today, you need more leadership. Human creative work is complex and applying fixed management methods and processes gives you the results from the manufacturing and industrial era of the past sixty years ago and one that the modern organizations are leaving behind.
What is the leadership requirements of the modern day world of work?
- Enabling people. This means finding and delegating challenges to the right set of people who are capable of owning it and solving it.
- Transferring ownership. People don't do their best until they own the problem. That's means allowing them to find answers and not spoon feeding them the answers that one thinks are the right answers. Human creativity flourishes when there is a combination of ownership, freedom and responsibility to solve problems.
- Being in their midst, not above. Use of hierarchical power and order has limited value. That means you are in the midst of the people doing the work. To observe what they do and help them with what they need in order to do their work better.
- Challenge them to push their boundaries. Work is stimulated only when people are challenged to push beyond what they are capable of. This does require freedom of expression for creativity to flourish. Know the difference between how to enable people with creative tension. This could easily slip into ineffective stress that could actually kill productivity and human engagement.
- Validate the work. Creative work needs market validation. Without customers and users validating the work created by your people - often enough and as quickly as possible, it is often possible to produce things that no one wants or something that the market does not appreciate much at all. Therefore the effectiveness of work is directly proportional to market validation.
- Ask them what they want in order to improve. Leadership is making each person on the teams a leader in every possible situation that one could exhibit their leadership capabilities. So work with your teams to figure what would make them better leaders, contribute better, learn better and do better - individually and collectively.
Management has its uses and it is not to manage people. It's to help inspect and adapt a meta-process that enables people and helps the people to do the work find and own their optimum process in their work context. And continuously improve it. Sometimes, one does need to manage and set a direction and these will be in times of chaos where someone needs to step in to provide guidance and direction. But these moments cant be the norm and they are often so sporadic and occasional.
Management through Leadership.