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The Dos, Don’ts and Differences of Organizations: Management Tasks

Very few roles allow someone to operate solely as a leader or a manager. Most job descriptions include aspects of both leadership and management. Leaders direct the inputs of an organization while managers direct the outputs. Very few roles, however, deal with one or the other. Virtually all supervisors and coordinators are called upon to lead and manage at various points in their roles.

Very few roles allow someone to operate solely as a leader or a manager. Most job descriptions include aspects of both leadership and management. Leaders direct the inputs of an organization while managers direct the outputs. Very few roles, however, deal with one or the other. Virtually all supervisors and coordinators are called upon to lead and manage at various points in their roles.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
Last column I outlined three leadership tasks associated with handling the dos, don’ts and differences in organizations. I offer here the management tasks associated with handling those same three tasks.
 
It is not enough to simply to develop the dos of the organization. Someone must ensure that the dos happen. Leaders envision a new day. Managers bring that new day into reality.
 
Often, it is the same person who oversees or coordinates both roles. Managers implement visions by controlling the amount of dissonance between where the organization is today and where it is headed tomorrow. Good managers apply just enough pressure or release so as to motivate the members of the organization toward their new vision, but not so much as to discourage the participants from working toward it.
 
Countless people have crashed and burned by announcing unattainable goals too grandiose for the organization. Just as many have held their organization back by introducing new concepts and innovations with the pace of a plodder rather than the stride of a sprinter.
 
A leader can envision an image worth advancing toward, but only a manager can convince the people to take a new step every day toward that vision. Good managers ration the vision and siphon from its power in stages, creating a delicate balance between challenge and support.
 
Many well-developed visions never have a chance because they are shelved before they ever get out of the starting gate. For whatever reason, outputs are often dissected from inputs at the moment that consensus is reached for a new vision.
 
A good manager connects the vision to the decisions and dollars of the organization, by ensuring that the vision of the organization influences decisions at every level in the organization and as well as drives the expenses of the organization. When visions become disconnected from decisions and dollars in the organization they are doomed for failure. Managers cement those linkages.
 
Just as the dos of the organization require both a leader and manager’s perspective and energy, so do the don’ts of the organization.
 
While leaders create the policies that make it possible for people to be treated fairly and justly, mangers ensure that such policies are carried out. Managers create just atmospheres that lead to productive environments.
 
In the previous column, I pointed out that the most common arena in which to develop policies are in the areas of personnel and finances. Managers expand those policies into goals, objectives or action statements in order to ensure the effectiveness of the policies.
 
While policies are the primary tool for the leader, budgets, income statements, balance sheets fall under the rubric of managers, as do performance appraisals and disciplinary actions. The leadership aspect involves developing the big picture related to the don’ts; the management aspect involves framing the picture into the organization.
 
Once the requirements and prohibitions have been clearly defined, the management role is to ensure that people adhere to those policies, while at the same time encouraging creativity in every way possible that does not violate the established norms.
 
For example, the leader might help to define certain investment parameters for the organization. The manager would then pursue the strongest return possible on finances or the greatest fundraising goals attainable so long as the norms are not violated.
 
The leader might help establish policies related to personnel behavior while the manager allows and even encourages radical methodology to achieve goals so long as the previously established norms remain sacred. Obviously, under this type of scenario, well defined norms, policies and prohibitions must precede the management of them.
 
The final task of a manager is to manage the inevitable conflicts among people that will occur as a result of the leader adding to the diversity within the organization. The role of a leader is to recruit as much diversity into the team as is possible. Greater diversity translates into greater resources available to achieve a task. Such diversity, however, inescapably leads to conflict.
 
The manger’s role is to help everyone understand that such personality conflicts are normal and expected, and to develop processes that help people deal with the differences when they arise. The best such processes normally involve three key factors: (1.) helping people focus on the issues rather than the personalities of those holding opposing viewpoints, (2.) enabling those most involved to participate in the dialogue, and (3.) helping those in the dialogue to generate and select the potential solution themselves.
 
By referring to the tasks of a leader and the tasks of a manager separately, I do not intend to imply that they will be performed by two different people all of the time. In fact, I advocate for the opposite. While someone may be more gifted in one arena or the other, I believe that the more members of the organization that get involved in both leadership and management tasks produces a cohesiveness between the inputs and outputs of the organization and thus, produces both vision and results.
 
Jeff Woods is associate general secretary for regional ministries with the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.
 
Click here to read first part.