A Start at Filling the Leadership Gap

leadership gap

By: Brad Smith

There is a large gap in leadership between what has been demonstrated and what most feel is required. Many leaders also hold this same perspective. The problem is, they don’t know how to get from their current leadership capability to the skill level they know they need in order to get their jobs done well.

Leadership is not management; it is human energy stimulation and ignition. Management is not leadership; it is human energy structuring for accomplishment. However, leadership without management is ineffective and management without visionary leadership is lifeless and ordinary. It takes both to reach the level of effective accomplishment we expect and demand today. You can think of leadership as a pump for energy from the individual employees into an organization. Management in this analogy would then be the plumbing to direct and focus that energy for task completion. It takes both energy and task completion for any company to be effective. It takes deep insight, vision, and synchronization to build a company that is great.

Vision draws a picture for everyone in the company and says, “This is what the end result for us will look like.” If that picture is clear and thoroughly communicated and each individual in the company understands and identifies with it for their own needs and values, then they are inspired. Inspiration is the best way to bring energy into any company. It is the most powerful way to provide energy for accomplishment. Fear, mundane job effort, and excitement are also human energy sources that show up in organizations. None of these except inspiration, however, have the duration, volume, intensity and natural effort alignment required for greatness to come out.

In order to achieve a well-conceived vision, deep insight is needed. Deep insight requires thorough market, company, and competitive understanding. The interesting capabilities that insight and vision require are empathy and intuition. Customers, employees, vendors and even competitors buy, move, and act from emotion. Empathy gives leaders an understanding of each group’s individual range of possible emotional motives. Intuition provides leaders insight into the array of choices that could be made. These two learnable skills provide leaders with the ability to build and articulate a vision and to prepare structured descriptions for employees to easily see, grasp, and identify with. Once this aligning identification is accomplished, the formal and informal conversations that occur lead to an increasing level of employee engagement with the vision’s accomplishments for the customers and for themselves. Deeper engagement stimulates and releases more energy for alignment, commitment, and achievement. This release and ignition of human energy is the purpose of leadership development and vision that deep insight generates. Aligning and coordinating inspired human energy with the tasks for vision achievement is management’s purpose.

When leaders in this world gain the skills of empathy and intuition for deep insight and inspiration, they will be much more successful. When enough leaders and organizations also learn the management skill of continually coordinating human energy with their vision’s tasks, each us will be more likely to view our present situation as a learning phase that is leading to organizational and maybe global greatness.

Brad perpetually seeks deeper understanding and learning. This often inspires innovative and effective perspectives in his client CEOs and their companies. His interests range from science fiction and macroeconomics to methods for improving regional economic development and educational effectiveness http://www.braelyn.com

5 thoughts on “A Start at Filling the Leadership Gap

  1. “Leadership is not management; it is human energy stimulation and ignition. Management is not leadership; it is human energy structuring for accomplishment.”

    A fascinating distinction, Brad. I see the difference, and I also see in your definitions why it’s so easy to confuse the two — the leader lights the spark, the manager shapes it to a task. Looked at this way, the two must go hand in hand in order to be effective.

    Thanks for linking to my post about paradox and leadership tensions. In some ways you’re introducing another leadership tension — the need to manage must be balanced by the visionary, the spark. It’s hard to do!

    Sometimes I think self-knowledge is the deepest requirement for leaders, so we know what we can and cannot do, and make sure we have complete teams so what’s needed can get done.

    Like

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