one of the things in this world that i find myself being passionate about is organizational and leadership development. to be fair, that is most likely why i sought out a masters degree that focused on those area. but what truly fascinates me about it is something that goes beyond the common ideas of what organizational development is in the sense of strategy and structure, but in the constituents of the organization itself.

you could say that i am fascinated the most by what creates an organization…people.

as part of my fascination i read anything and everything i can about the subject from a wide variety of resources. recently i came across this article in forbes regarding the differences between managing and coaching.  while i agree in principle about the ideas presented between the two dichotomous thoughts, i feel that the author fell short in understanding the dynamic of those two roles and how the can be a powerful combination.

the primary area, however, where this understanding falls short is in this description of management:

“managing involves a more directive, task-oriented style that should only be used under certain conditions. it usually produces the best results in a crisis situation, when someone has never done the task before, or when they have little or no confidence in their ability to get it done.”

i offer a different approach.  for leaders and influencers it is not enough to either manage or to coach an individual in a given situation. the complexities of the human experience make for a messy and disjointed mixture of needs, wants, and desires (from the individual, the leader, and those impacted by the situation). it is not as easy as saying that sally has no experience doing x so i need to manage her in doing this, while tommy is really competent in y so i will develop him.

a leader who relies on information and formulas to base their stylistic decisions on effectively cuts themselves off from the best source of data they have, the people they lead.  a rigid hierarchical understand of when to use which type of leadership does nothing more than create a system that devalues the human uniqueness of individuals.

why can’t the story that we tell in leadership be both/and?

in other words, let’s challenge the assumption that everyone can be grouped together and a leadership style applied to them and move to a broader understanding that embraces our humanity not categorizes it.




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