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Twins, Martinis & The New Math

Adding Up the Impact of Management & Leadership

I’m the proud mother of fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. They are two very different children, who also share much in common. And it always surprises me when I’m asked: Have you thought about having more? To which I snarkily reply: More what!?! More martinis?

I know their question is well-meaning. But what people don’t understand is that my two are actually three. There’s my daughter: big-eyed, talkative, precocious, and sweet. She wants to be a robotic engineer – that is, when she’s not playing professional basketball. She’s only in first grade, but mama’s already researching MIT. And my son: playful, sarcastic, curious, and logical – with a rabid addiction to Minecraft. He wants to be a gaming designer. Or maybe an entrepreneur who will offer the services of his action figures if you’re struggling with a pesky bad-guy problem. All for a reasonable fee, of course.

But when my babies come together, it’s not one plus one equals two.  My two become a third, combined force – one that’s louder, bigger, more energetic, with much more mouth, and thousands of arms and legs whirling in a cloud of noise and movement. A wonder-twin activated storm. Hence the martinis. Lots and lots of martinis.

Management and Leadership are twins too, and quite different. Whether it’s people, process, projects, products, or knowledge, Management starts with the method in mind. Management is about doing things right with an emphasis on tactics, structure, and systems. It concerns itself with the HOW and the path we take en route to wherever we’re headed. Managing has a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a unit of work, to which we align ourselves, so it requires only the fuel of urgency, authority, command and control, and its not-so-distant cousin, compliance. We follow because we’re supposed to. And if we do, we can cross it off, signifying that the work, the season, the task, or the transaction is done. Done is Management’s job. Done is good.

Leadership is different. Its eyes are trained on something far more distant, and yet right at our fingertips. All managers should be leaders; but one need not be a manager to lead, because title is superfluous to leading. The efficacy of leading isn’t determined by what we call it; it’s in the impact.

What Leadership does intersects all manner of people, processes, project, product, or knowledge, because Leadership leads with the end in mind. The question for Leadership is Where are we going? And what impact can we make once we get there? Doing things right is superseded by Doing the right things, in the right time, with the right people, and their divergent points of view, having a seat at the table where we, together, can conceive a spanking-new innovation. Leadership favors the WHY and the destination, as there are innumerable HOWS and paths we might follow. In contrast to Management’s beginning, middle, and end, Leadership is ubiquitous. If Management is the manner in which we breathe, Leadership is the oxygen.

What Leadership values is value. What competitive advantage can we bring? What experience can we create? And, beyond wielding mere authority, Leaders engage and influence. They rely on quality relationships, to which we freely give our time, talent, energy, and effort, because we want to – not because we must.

I like waxing poetic about Leadership. And I also appreciate Management, Leadership’s pragmatic twin, who ensures that we get the job done, while Leadership ensures that it is necessary to do in the first place.

Appreciate the Differences. Management concerns itself with the How, the How Many, the By When, and the By What Process. Leading is concerned with the Why, the What, and the Who. Combine these lenses to round out your success strategies.

Be Bigger Than Your Title. Management happens outside the body, driving through authority, the movement of other people and processes. Leadership begins internally; first by you becoming self-mastered. And then, just by your walk and talk, acquiring the ability to move the will of others towards a change that adds value. Who and what you manage may be matters for an outsider to determine, but how you show up and do yourself as a leader is completely within your domain.

Give The People What They Want. As other people experience you, know that your management of things, process, and tasks will likely engage their Heads and Hands. Your leadership, conversely, energizes the Heart and the Gut. Managing this duality isn’t a matter of turning one on or turning one off, as if they were light switches. Instead, assess what the situation and the people therein need, and then activate a mix of your Management practice and your Leadership craft to serve the expectations at hand.

Adding Up the Impact of Management & Leadership. There’s Management and there’s Leadership – again, very different animals. But there’s a third state as well – when Management’s walk and talk, tactics, and attention to detail meet Leadership’s wisdom, relationship focus, and strategic attention to value. When Management and Leadership are a combined force in the same individual, the potential to affect positive change is bigger, more energetic, more powerful, more potent, and with unstoppable velocity.

It’s not one plus one equals two; it’s one plus one equals a wonder-twin activated synergy that moves the will of the people to advance the processes, and projects, and the products, and to convert the knowledge into wisdom and achievement, that we toast as our collective win.