Commentary by Dr. Whitesel. For the past 20 years leadership articles have primarily focused on creating visionary leaders. But “administrative leaders” are actually just as critical to getting the vision accomplished. I’ve written about this numerous times citing a “strategic – tactical – relational matrix” of leadership personalities. Here’s an article that shows that unless a visionary leader partners with an administrative leader, the vision won’t usually be attained.
by Roger Trapp, Forbes Magazine, 8/31/22.
… so much emphasis is put on leadership — with all that entails in terms of vision, strategy and communication — that it is possible that we are overlooking the basics of just getting things done.
The evidence for this is all around us. Take, for example, the chaos at airports around the world as travel attempts to return to normal after the pandemic. We can all see that shortages of labour might have an impact, but management is all about dealing with constraints, so surely a well-run organisation would have — if it had not anticipated the issue — reacted to early problems and come up with a better plan for dealing with them. Or consider many aspects of the handling of the pandemic itself. From securing supplies of personal protective equipment at the outset to distributing vaccines later, the U.K.’s National Health Service and other bodies around the world were found wanting… It all smacks of putting vision and strategy before the basics of getting the job done.
The point is developed in an article just published in the MIT Sloan Management Review. In “Saving Management From Our Obsession With Leadership,” authors Jim Detert, Kevin Kniffin and Hannes Leroy write: “For decades, business thinkers and the executives who look to them for insight have elevated the visionary, inspirational leader over the useful yet pedestrian good manager. But evidence all around us suggests that we devalue management practices at our peril: What we’ve come to denigrate as mere management (done by those who are merely managers) is incredibly difficult and valuable.”
Moreover, they put the Great Resignation into context, pointing out that the people “quitting in droves haven’t done so because their company’s top executive is insufficiently visionary or inspirational. Rather, people have quit lousy jobs — jobs that lack autonomy, variety, or opportunities to grow; jobs that pay poorly and don’t reward performance fairly; jobs that aren’t clearly defined and structured; jobs that lack guardrails that prevent chronic overload and frustration.