Macro & Micro Leadership.
Working with many business leaders, I’m always alert to noting what worked well, what went wrong, and even better if.
In particular, I’m keen to identify patterns that can be replicated and therefore coached to others.
And I’ve found one recently that I think is really helpful, even though at first sight, it appears to be contradictory to conventional leadership thinking.
It’s often suggested that the difference between leadership and management is strategy and implementation.
Leaders decide the purpose and objective, they then agree the strategy with managers, who then implement it and get the results. (Of course, the best leaders consult widely before deciding the purpose and objective, but ultimately it’s their decision).
I broadly agree with this allocation of responsibilities.
However, all too often, the outputs are different to what the leader envisioned. Sometimes they’re better, but more commonly, they fall short of expectation.
That’s when some leaders jump in and start to interrogate the details.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a role of leadership. Indeed, a key one.
If the results are below those desired there’s broadly three reasons:
- The objective wasn’t communicated and agreed to the required standard.
- The objective was unreasonable.
- Management has failed to deliver.
By diving into the detail, leaders can see for themselves which of these three is the cause of the underwhelming output.
Observing hundreds of leaders making thousands of decisions, I’ve seen that many of the best, (defined by the quality of their results), are both Big Picture & Small Details orientated.
They set the desired result, and then get out of the way to let management implement – but will dive straight back in at the first sign of outputs falling short of expectation.
Some may suggest this is micromanagement – it isn’t.
It’s macro and micro leadership.
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