Monday, May 14, 2012

The 6 Passages of Leadership and Management

Unless you are an heir to a throne, people usually don’t begin their careers leading a large organization. There’s a progression of passages, or at least there should be.

Charan, Drotter, and Noel wrote about six leadership passages in their classic book The Leadership Pipeline. However, they use the terms “leadership” and “management” interchangeably. There’s a big difference, right?

What if we took a simplified version of the Pipeline model, and mash it with a distinction between leadership and management?

We’ll call it The Great Leadership & Management Passages Model (OK, so we need a catchier name):

Here are the six passages:

Passage #1: Managing Yourself
Managing yourself means learning how to show up to work on time and dressed appropriately, get along with your co-workers, manage your time and priorities, keep your boss happy, and follow basic workplace adequate, i.e., no microwaving fish in the break room. It also means learning how to solve problems, make decisions, use good judgment, and control your emotions.

Passage #2: Leading Yourself
Leading yourself involves figuring out what really inspires you and doing whatever it is you do with a sense of purpose and passion. It includes having a clear set of values and principles that guide your day-to-day behavior and decisions, a compelling vision, and goals. It requires the ability to handle ambiguity, paradox, and change.

Passage #3: Managing Others and Teams
Managing others and teams involves learning out to hire, train, establish performance measures, reward, and punish. It’s about figuring out what and how the work needs to be done, and lining up the right resources needed to get the work done.

Passage #4: Leading Others and Teams
In other to lead others and teams, you have to learn about and tap into each individuals values, goals, hopes, dreams, and fears. It involves getting to know each team member and learning how to inspire commitment, energize, and harness the individual and collective passion of the team. At the risk of stating the obvious – to lead others and teams requires transforming yourself into a leader.

Passage #5: Managing Organizations
Managing organizations involves optimizing a number of different functions in order to create a product or service and archive measurable organizational outcomes. It requires having a solid grasp of all aspects of the organization, including strategy, sales, marketing, human resources, manufacturing, research, legal, etc….
Goals need to be set at a high level and then cascaded throughout the organization with a performance management system in place to achieve those goals. Managing organizations also means being responsive to multiple stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, government, and the community.

Passage #6: Leading Organizations
Leading organizations requires learning how to establish a compelling vision and inspire large groups of people to act from afar. An organizational leader can no longer rely on the ability tap into each individual’s passion – they need to figure out how to manage culture and engage the entire organization in order to mobilize shared commitment.
Leading organizations requires learning how to identify and develop other leaders, because no one leader can create and sustain extraordinary performance on their own.

I believe the passages are developmentally progressive and build upon each other. An individual can technically jump right into passages #5 and #6, Managing and Leading Organizations, they won’t be successful in the long run if they haven’t learned how to lead and manage themselves, other individuals, and teams I’ve seen this happen over and over – the brilliant, young entrepreneur or the star performer who is put in charge of an organization with undeveloped emotional intelligence and no actual experience managing others. Unfortunately, sometimes they never do learn – or even try to – and it ends up being their downfall.

I realize the model is way overly simplified – we couldn’t possibly describe everything it takes to lead and manage in less than 1000 words. But then again, when it comes to models, simple is good. If you can’t explain it to a 12-year old (or a CEO), then it’s too complicated.

So what do you think of the model? Make sense? What would you change? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.


Ray Bakker said...

Absolutely, 100% on the money. Yes it is simple, but there is always the element of common sense in any teaching. The KISS principal is best received by those who understand its concept. For others, it would not make a difference.

Common sense doesn’t rule the world, but it should guide its leaders, who, all things being equal, are also good managers!

Sarah T said...

Sounds about right, though I would avoid the use of the word "punish" in the model. To me when it comes to changing adult behavior(s) I believe we have to avoid language and actions that come off as punitive or that create a parent/child dynamic. It just isn't motivating. Perhaps using "reward and re-direct" would work?

Charles Plant said...

Excellent blog. I think you've done a great job separating the function of managing from leading. I would add another two steps at 3 and 4. Between managing yourself and managing people is step number 3, managing projects, process, and products. This requires the evolving employee to interact with others in the organization in order to get things done. As a step between self management and managing others is that of influencing others so that they will do things for you to assist you to accomplish your objectives. The new step number 4 then in your model would be leading projects, process, and products.

Lisa Kohn said...

This is an excellent and simple way to model the steps to/through leadership. One thing I would make blatant (because I do believe it is hinted at in nearly every step) is the need for self-awareness and self-reflection. If we don't know our own strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, hot buttons, etc. we can't effectively manage or lead ourselves, teams, or organizations.

Dan McCarthy said...

Thanks, I hope you can put it to use somehow.

Thanks, I agree, not my usual choice of words. Even firing somebody shouldn't be viewed as punishment.

Thanks, OK, I can buy that, your 3 Ps are different animals. Although I'm not sure if I could distinguish between management and leadership, which would mess up my 3x3 grid. (-:

Agree, I'd be inclined to include self awareness and reflection under leading lead.

Tim G said...

Great stuff, thanks for sharing - it definitely resonates with me!

Similar to Charles' comment, I wonder if #3 & 4 might actually go the other way around (if we're looking at it sequentially).

As organizations get flatter and more efficient, more people are required to lead projects and teams without having the authority or power of "management" of that group of people, and have to do many of the things in #4 without being able to do any of the things in #3. (I know this has been true for myself and many of my colleagues)

I'm thinking this would be a great discussion question to pose to a group in a leadership development program.

Dan McCarthy said...

Tim -
Thanks, I see your point, makes sense.

Ben Simonton said...


I certainly agree with #1 & 2, but after that I disagree more and more. I tried #3-6 and was considered to be one of the best managers/leaders. But I still had far too many poor and middle performers whose performance far below the best.

But I did fix that after my first 12 years of managing people by truly listening to my people and responding respectfully to their complaints, suggestions and questions. When responding, I made sure my response satisfied the originator and any others affected. The more I did that, the better they performed eventually at a level twice better than I had thought humanly possible.

Listening taught me how conformists/followers operate v non-followers in that followers waste a huge amount of brainpower following. That brainpower waste denied me a lot of creativity, innovation and productivity.

I then began to lead followers back to being non-followers and in the process gained most of the wasted brainpower. Huge productivity gains led me to realize that people are actually four times as capable as I thought humanly possible.

Best regards, Ben Simonton

Dan McCarthy said...

Thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience.
I get what you are saying about the importance of listening, engagement, and empowerment. But what is it about passages 3-6 that you disagree with?