The High-Performance Balance: Management and LeadershipEmployee engagement, customer satisfaction, safety, quality, and financial performance are slipping in many organizations. That’s often because organizations are over managed and under led. “People are our most important resource” has become a worn out cliché with a high “snicker factor.”

Research shows that high performing teams and organizations balance the “hard” discipline of systems, processes, and technology management on a “soft” base of effective people leadership. Leading with the heart inspires higher energy and commitment to meaningful change toward more successful outcomes for everyone.

I mentioned my summer project of reviewing the most popular keynote and workshop topic areas for common themes or trends in my last blog post. This led to a revision and updating of our keynote and workshop topic areas.

Balancing management and leadership has been an enduring theme throughout my books and presentations, workshops, and retreats. Those experiences along with analyzing which blogs and articles on our web site draw the most traffic shows many managers and executives wrestle with the vital question of how to balance these two critical areas.

Here are a few “key notes” from my keynotes (and workshops) that seem to capture the core messages that resonate most:

  • Managing Things and Leading People – understanding the differences between management and leadership and integrating them for greater success. Like both wings of the airplane, we need both to soar.
  • Soft Skills, Hard Results – emotional intelligence, engagement, perceptions, and energy are powerful catalysts propelling teams and organizations to peak performance.
  • Powerful Combinations – balancing Management Competencies like Business Acumen, Drive for Results, and Problem Solving with Leadership Competencies such as Communications, Teamwork/Collaboration, and Developing People.
  • Information versus Communication – management speaks to the head with information technologies and written communication. Leadership engages the heart with courageous conversations and verbal communications.

How’s your balance or the balance of your team? A powerful exercise is looking at time spent in technical, management, and leadership (“as is”) and comparing that to your desired or “should be” state.