If leadership is primarily an act of social influence designed to people toward a common goal (any dispute there?), then leadership and management become a series of paradoxes.
You are personally accountable, yet rely on the work of others.
You need talented staff, so you develop them, yet you also appraise them.
You develop your team, yet your team comprises individuals, with unique needs and interests.
You need to do well today, while focusing on tomorrow.
These paradoxes make the job that much more challenging and of course interesting.
Harvard researcher Linda Hill and executive Kent Lineback identify three “imperatives” for management:
1. Manage yourself.
- An effective boss uses formal authority effectively yet rarely, preferring to focus on the responsibilities of the position more than the authority. Also, relationships, and building influence, should enable a focus on the purpose and goals of the team more than personal friendships.
2. Manage Your Network.
- Whom do you and your team depend on? Are these people in your network? How do you build, maintain and sustain a network while also supporting the needs of members of your network? How do you ensure that your network provides the resources you require? It is important that you build coalitions with network partners. Your network of course needs to trust your competence and character.
3. Manage Your Team.
- Define and refine your team’s vision. Discuss your plans. Clarify roles, develop team culture, provide feedback, individually and collectively. Delegate and develop. Deal with performance issues quickly.
Fundamental to all of this is to consider how every problem can help you to build your team, make progress toward stated goals and strengthen your network.
It is becoming more and more important that the network is a critical ingredient in leadership and management development. It is a key element of succession management and success in management.