Friday, March 21, 2008

Controling, Managing, & Leading

I recently saw a quote by the late management guru Peter Drucker. “So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work”. I have it printed on my desk and ponder its meaning from time to time. More recently I found myself responding to a colleague that “controlling is not managing”, and then added, “and managing is not leading”. It seems to me that is what Drucker was referring to. I re-read my post from a year ago in which I discussed leadership versus management. I would now add the notion of control as a component of management. I once found myself working for a huge bank as a result of a merger. Several years earlier the bank was in severe financial distress due to some very risky mistakes. In addressing these missteps the bank had created a culture of extreme control, to the extent that it was stifling. Risk was controlled at the expense of innovation or even simple initiative. While the bank’s name continues today, the organization was soon taken over by a bank with a more open and aggressive culture. Surprise! Surprise!If you think back to jobs you enjoyed most, I suspect it is because you worked for a very good manager, maybe even the rare leader. Think of a job you hated, and most likely it was working under a “controller”, or micro-manager. While “controllers” think they are managing, as Drucker says they are just making it difficult for people to do their job.

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