Category Archives: Communication

The Difference Between a Leader and a Manager – Which are You?

Leadership has been defined as being about influence, and Management has been defined as being about authority.  Which is right for your business?

John Kotter, the Harvard Academic, maintains that Leaders are inspiring and successfully promote new directions whereas Managers take care of today’s business, getting things done by executing the directions.

People choose to follow Leaders who are seen as inspiring and people orientated but are required to follow a Manager who is seen as controlling and task focused!

But surely this view is over simplistic?!

The qualities required by both Leaders and Managers are not necessarily mutually exclusive for one or the other.

boss v leader

To be a good Leader or Manager both need to have a degree of inspirational skill.

Whereas, an inspiring Leader might move people to change direction, an inspiring Manager will move people to exert more effort to get a job done!

As a Manager you do need to be a leader to get things done and as a Leader you do not need to be a manager to motivate and get people to follow. Realistically it all comes down to the individual’s personality and how they interact with the people.

Leaders can inspire and get people to follow, however without the skills to get things done, everything will be just words.

Managers on the other hand, with or without the qualities of Leadership are still able to maintain the important tasks at hand.

One could argue that it is better to be a Manager with the qualities of a Leader, who will create the better task force – Leadership qualities being the added bonus to have, but you don’t necessarily need them.

The key element is the individual characteristics of the individual involved and how they influence their people and the people around them, and in turn how those people respond. 

Communication – the panacea of good, evil or misunderstanding! Part 3

The definition of communication is “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”.

Oxford English Dictionary

Most “issues” arising in an organization can be put down to one word – Communication”.

On the basis that each person’s perception of a communication may be slightly different, how do you ensure a consistency of message, clarity, and understanding?

Achieving this can be particularly difficult when a number of stakeholders are involved, each having their own “take” of what is being communicated and their view on a solution, if one is required.

LogoVisual Thinking or LVT uses the principle that one picture can sometimes be worth a thousand words to see what is being said or thought.

When an issue needs to be addressed and involves several stakeholders the LVT concept provides an effective way of clarifying the issue.

The issue can be anything from, developing a new strategic plan; introducing a new process or procedure; resolving conflict; a changed dynamic following the introduction of a new member to a team; planning a career move to give but a few examples.

Stakeholder being defined as anyone or object being involved where focus, responsibility and accountability is required to achieve a sustainable outcome.

The LVT process involves interactive communication between the stakeholders that leads to greater clarity, understanding and appreciation of others perspectives.

In particular, the unspoken concerns of individuals which may have arisen and inhibit the issue being resolved will surface and can be addressed.

Communication – the panacea of good, evil or misunderstanding! Part 2

With the advent of the internet, “communication” has become much faster and far reaching as a result, the prospect of misinterpretation becomes that much greater.

The time for thinking something through has disappeared because of the intrusive nature of the email or social networking, people feel the need to respond instantly, thus time for considered thought about what is being said or written and how it should be said or written is lost.

Sending an email or a response is often a knee jerk reaction.

Email and social media are as a result inhibiting the art of communication through speech or the written word.

Many would argue the Internet and Broadband have improved communication and yes, they have with unprecedented access to information and no they haven’t by providing an easy distraction from the job in hand.

By adding to the myriad of “time thieves” that disrupt the executive’s day, concentration and focus can be lost from the immediate task.

The question then becomes are emails and social media the servant (tool) or the master of the executive.

Using any kind of tool requires a discipline, it is now all too easy to stop what you are in the middle of something to answer the dong from the PC or the flag flashing in the top right hand corner telling you an email has landed or you have been endorsed by a colleague in LinkedIn.

Your train of thought has been broken and therefore when you get back to the issue you have to spend a little time to regroup your thoughts .

It could be likened to climbing a greasy pole, up 4 feet down 3 and start again!

Whilst time management has always been an important part of an executives day, never has it become more important now with the increased number of time thieves clamouring for this limited resource.

How often does this happen, you send an email to a colleague asking a question or clarification about some point.

They send back an answer and copy a colleague – protection, no blame here or CYA?

The answer they have sent is not quite what you expected and prompts another question and you feel that perhaps another colleague should also be involved.

Now 4 people are on the circulation list and so on!

But each time, you and they have had to stop, read the email, key a response and so on.

In the days before the Internet, you would have walked over to your colleague or telephoned them and initially had a one to one dialogue without the time consuming to and fro which could involve more people.

The initial disruption would probably have been once only at atime convenient to you both.

Lets not lose sight of the basics and kid ourselves about “improved communication” coming from the internet!

Everything has a cost of some sort, there is a cost associated with the use of the Internet – EXECUTIVE TIME and DISTRACTION

Communication – the panacea of good, evil or misunderstanding!

Definition – “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”.

                                                                                       Oxford English Dictionary

Most “issues” which arise in an organization can be put down to this one word – communication.

Whether it is written, spoken or visual, various factors will all play a part and need to be taken into account if issues are to be avoided and communication is to be effective.

In written communication, the layout, the use of language – the tone, bolding, colour and visual presentation.

Similarly, with the spoken word, the voice intonation and associated body language.

Add to these the particular circumstances, the place, the situation of those involved at the time, all play a part in how the message is received and perceived.

Thus there are any number of factors contributing to the listener or reader’s perception of the message and which will play a part during “communication”.

These have to be considered if the message to be imparted is to be received as intended.

In addition, the reader or the listener will only register those elements of the message they feel are relevant to them.

Thus, it is not what is said, but how it is said which becomes of paramount importance in any form of “communication”

Unfortunately, there is no ”one size” fits all as every recipient will have a slightly different perception of the message based on the particular circumstances at the time.

When “communicating” always bear these factors in mind, no matter how basic the message you are trying to impart to whom and through whatever medium.