September 2013

In This Issue

Leadership and Management





Leadership and Management

By: Ralph Kison

Although often used interchangeably, leadership and management require different skills, talents and approaches to succeed.

A manager keeps a department or team working efficiently and may adhere to company policy and guidelines but not have the respect and support of staff because of poor leadership and relationship skills.

Conversely, a leader may inspire and motivate staff but never achieve the group's full potential because standards are not meet and business principles and systems are not utilized.

Your challenge is to be a great leader and an excellent manager!

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.
— Harvey S. Firestone


Here is some perspective on leadership:

  • True Leadership Skill is the ability to obtain a willing "following" for a given course of action.
  • A "following" is people who willingly believe and commit themselves to achieve a common goal.

The ability to inspire people to this level of commitment and the required confidence is very definitely skill based. It is less about tactics, techniques, job title or positions of authority. A leader must focus on developing the tools necessary for inspiring great performance in today's competitive and complex business environment.

In the Fall of 2007, I wrote an article about Leadership ( and I still feel very strongly about the content. However, I have slightly expanded the list of attributes of a leader.


  1. Create a vision and purpose for the organization
    • Leaders elevate the people's perspective beyond existing or short term opportunities to create a vibrant vision that challenges and even threatens the status quote.
    • Leaders design and articulate a clear and compelling vision that engages and motivates people to embark on the journey.
  2. Build and gain support
    • Leaders create wiling followers, many of whom are not under their control.
    • Leaders develop strategies to engage people to support the vision and passionately tell the story to build a strong community of supporters.
  3. Generate enthusiasm and passion within the organization
    • The best leaders are great coaches who understand how to build enthusiasm for performance that enables individuals and the organization to achieve success and deal with setbacks.
    • Leaders are more than just positive thinkers. They generate enthusiasm that leads a team to achieve big goals and take smart risks that makes people stretch and grow.
  4. Encourage people to achievement
    • Leaders encourage others to achieve their personal best and “fail” forward.
    • Leaders create an environment where people believe that if they try, they will succeed.
  5. Enable performance and achievement
    • Leaders provide the emotional, intellectual and physical resources to achieve success.
    • Leaders develop the skills in their followers that enable high performance.
  6. Empower and support followers
    • Leaders enable others to implement the vision of the organization and live the core values in spite of resistance or cynicism.
    • Leaders are the cheer leaders and advocates for their people.
  7. Live the Values and Beliefs of the Organization
    • Leaders model the values and beliefs of the organization.
    • Leaders "walk the talk' and harness the power of shared values to achieve results.
  8. Delegate Courageously
    • Leaders identify the strengths and talents of the team and enable people to play to their strengths.
    • Leaders trust others to take smart risks and make mistakes to acquire wisdom and insight.
  9. Candid and Clear Communication
    • Leaders clearly and succinctly describe their vision and goals to ensure everyone is working towards a common goal.
    • Leaders are role models of effective verbal and non-verbal communication and hold themselves to the highest standards for ethics and values.

As you work on meeting your goals and commitments for 2013, and begin planning for 2014, consider how your leadership style and abilities will enable you to achieve your objectives and grow to be a better leader. Be honest and ask yourself the question "would I follow me?”. If you wouldn't then those around you won't either.

Develop a personal action plan to implement or improve the way you apply the nine steps outlined in this article. Get some objective feedback from those you lead or work with to see how you are performing. Or go even further and conduct a 360 degree evaluation of your leadership style and approach and then find an accountability partner or coach to become the best leader you can be.

If you think you're leading but no one is following, then you are just talking a walk.
— John Maxwell

© 2013 Ralph Kison


Kison   Suite 35, 10551 Shellbridge Way    Richmond BC V6X 2W9    604.284.5133