Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Peter Drucker
And with this simple quote, shown up is one of the fundamental flaws in the way we value the people who work in local government.
Having been through restructures in the past, I am well versed in the intricacies of the average process. The team or service undergoing the changes invariably ends up reviewing their structure charts, placing new teams together and rearranging workloads before or after assigning a manager for them to work with or to lead on their projects and keep things moving in the right direction. Those higher up this chain get paid more, those lower down get paid less.
But why is this? Why do those who sign off the leave cards for others, and who record progress via 1:1 meetings get paid more than those who actually do the work, those who make the contacts and those who lead the agenda and projects to where they need to be?
There seems to be an underlying assumption often made that leadership and management is intrinsically linked and that you can’t successfully do one without doing the other at the same time. On many job descriptions for managers at whatever grade is the ability to lead and motivate others; how many of us are truly inspired by those immediately above us? If you are one of thee then you are in a privileged position, as many simply are not.
However, many of us do find this inspiration from other colleagues we work with. Some of these will be more senior than us, some more junior and some our peers. I for one have been lucky enough to have had one or two inspirational managers, have been enthused by more junior staff and worked alongside some who have pushed me to be better than I thought I could be before.
I’m sure I’m not unique in having known many of the exact opposite, those who’s jobs may or may not have been to inspire me but who didn’t for whatever reason. Some of these have been superb managers, who have provided exactly what I needed when I needed it and allowed me to lead myself in my own direction. I didn’t hold this against them, in fact for me this was equally as important a stage in my professional development. (more…)