January 18, 2018

Leadership is contagious

Two doctors in discussionUnlike management, which doesn’t really spread from person to person, leadership is contagious. If one person is an effective and energetic leader, those around them are likely to pick up some of the traits too.

Management authority has to be arranged and people have to be appointed to roles.


Leadership authority can be developed independently of management structure and rub off from one individual to another, to be drawn on as and when circumstances require.

A good idea then to cultivate leadership skills in an organisation—they spread.

(Thanks to Geoff Crowley, Managing Director of Highland Colour Coaters, who prompted this piece.)

Are you leading with your professional paradigm?

Group discussionThey say the way we do anything is the way we do everything.

When it comes to leadership and management, we tend to lead and manage in a paradigm dictated by our professional or vocational expertise—our worldview, if you like. For example…

Scientists manage scientifically.

Engineers manage with systems and processes.

Academics lead academically.

Accountants manage financially.

Typically, the leadership culture in an organisation reflects the nature of what it does.

But actually…

There’s no good reason why it should; there’s an explanation, but not a reason.

Management and leadership are both different arts in their own right, generally requiring a much greater understanding of human beings and a deeper affinity with them—something quite different from a vocational expertise.

Worth checking whether we’re over-applying our professional paradigm in our leadership role.

Good to adopt a distinct model for that part of what we do.

And that might mean abandoning some certainties.

Controlling everything isn’t leadership

Group in discussion at computerIt’s management.

They say the best leaders are the ones who develop the most leaders, not the most followers.

If we want to lead—as opposed to manage—we mustn’t control everything, because then there’s no opportunity for others to exercise their initiative and grow into leaders themselves.

Of course, there need to be checks and balances to pick up mistakes; to keep everything and everybody safe.

And the right relationship to make all this possible—trust.

How do you strike the right balance between freedom and control?

If you’re trying to nail down everything, you probably aren’t leading.