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Leading and managing | 165


‘The men of Issachar understood the times

and knew what Israel should do.’

1 Chronicles 12:32

Just as workplace fashions and office technology have
changed over the decades, so to have management styles.
The leader as authority figure that the Boomers first expe-
rienced had shifted by the time Generation X entered
the workplace. The 1980s ushered in author and manage-
ment expert Ken Blanchard’s ‘situational leader’ who would
respond to the team and the situation. The shift from leader
as commander to leader as collaborator gained momentum
in the 1990s as author and psychologist Daniel Goleman
developed his EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) tools.
Managers recognised that staff did not respond to a wholly
positional leader, but to a relational one. And so the shift
from leadership selection based on IQ (intelligence quo-
tient) to EQ began. This was a time of change from the out-
come-driven, authoritarian manager to the team-focused,
authentic leader.

This momentum has grown as the Gen Y-ers have joined
the workforce. Such an empowered, options-rich generation
are inspired by leaders who consult, involve and coach, not
by managers who dictate and delegate from afar.

The difference between leaders
and managers

Indeed, an interesting trend in management literature has
been the redefined categories of leader and manager. There
are some big differences between the archetypal process-
driven manager and iconic visionary leader. The Oxford
Dictionary defines a manager as: ‘A person controlling or
administering a business.’1 A leader is defined as: ‘A person
who causes others to go with him[/her], by guiding and
showing the way; guides by persuasion and argument.’2

Some of the great thinkers and writers on leadership add
clarity to the discussion:

Lead is from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning a road, a way,
a path. It’s knowing what the next step is. Managing is from
the Latin, ‘manus’, a hand. It’s about handling, and is closely
linked with the idea of machines and came to prominence
in the 19th century, as engineers and accountants emerged
to run what had previously been entrepreneurial businesses.
Managers can be appointed; leaders must be ratified in the
hearts and the minds of those who work for them.

John Adair, author of books on business leadership

As do practitioners:

Leadership is often confused with management. As I see it,
leadership revolves around vision, ideas, direction, and has
more to do with inspiring people as to direction and goals
than with day-to-day implementation. One can’t lead unless
one can leverage more than his own capabilities. You have
to be capable of inspiring other people to do things without

actually sitting on top of them with a checklist.

John Sculley, partner in Sculley Brothers and former CEO of Apple


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166 | The ABC of XYZ Leading and managing | 167

Here’s a snapshot summary of the differences between man-
agers and leaders taken from our research and reviews:

Table 8.1 Managers versus leaders

Managers Leaders

Administrative Innovate

Focus on policies &

Focus on people &

IQ & technical skills EQ & people skills

Systems structured Vision driven

Rules based Values based

Control Trust

Short term Long term

Provide answers Ask big questions

Who & when Why & how

Bottom line Triple bottom line

Recruit Train

Positional Relational

Accept Challenge

Do things right Do the right things

The biggest difference is not one of practice but priorities.
Leaders and managers often have the same responsibilities,
but very different starting points.
Meaning > Mission (Why)

Team > Task (What)

Relational > Positional (How)

When it comes to one’s raison d’être – the ‘why’ of the
role – the differences between the two become clear. The
manager starts with the mission: ‘Give me a mission and I
will achieve my reason for being by its accomplishment’.

Ever ‘on task’, the manager achieves meaning by doing.
The leader, however, takes a few steps back from the

mission or task and asks some meaning or purpose ques-
tions: ‘Why do we as an organisation exist? Who are our
customers and our stakeholders? How can we make a dif-
ference for all our stakeholders?’ In other words, the leaders
don’t jump straight in to answering questions – first they
ask a few. Leaders focus on the big picture and the long
term, not just the immediate and the urgent. Let’s be clear:
leaders get to the mission and the task – it is just that they
don’t start there.

It is similar when it comes to the ‘what we do’. Man-
agers begin with the task – and will even recruit the team
based on the task. They are truly task-driven compared to
the leader who is people-centred. To the leader, task mat-
ters – but it is accomplished with the team rather than
through the team. Leaders talk ‘people’ and ‘teams’ rather
than ‘human resources’ and ‘talent’. With a long-term view
of their role, they train and inspire their people to achieve
and accomplish tasks first. It is easy to spot the differences in
an outdoor ‘team-building’ task. When approaching a new
scenario, the managers look at the equipment and count
the ropes and planks, while the leaders gather the team in a
huddle to gauge morale and discover specialist skills.

And how do they do it? Leaders rely on their relational
skills, not positional ranks, as today people respond better
to emotional rather than rational appeals. Highlighting this,
scientists have been tracking climate change for the last 20
years, yet it has only been in the last 20 months that the
climate-change message has got traction in the community.
One reason for this is that while ever the message was a
rational, statistical one, it remained limited to the scientific

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168 | The ABC of XYZ Leading and managing | 169

community. However, the moment Al Gore’s documentary
An Inconvenient Truth was viewed en masse, the message was
imparted visually. Pictures of icebergs melting and sea lev-
els rising engaged the community viscerally, which no sci-
entific papers could ever do. It moved the debate from a
rational argument to an emotional one. Al Gore connected
with hearts and not just heads – ironically something he
could not quite do when running for president.

For any leader it is about connecting relationally and not
just cognitively. Structures are secondary to the teams and
the dynamics – people follow them because people trust
and respect them. Rank is secondary to the relationship. In
the pragmatic words of leadership expert John Maxwell: ‘If

you’re leading and no one’s following – you’re just out for
a walk.’3

The right leadership style will not only assist with effec-
tive work outcomes – it will also help with Gen Y reten-
tion. Our analysis of the causes of employee turnover shows
the central role that good leadership plays in employee
retention. Specifically, 42 per cent of Gen Y-ers surveyed
reported that poor management and leadership was the
main reason for leaving their previous role.4

Gen Y-ers do not respond well to hierarchical leadership
structures. Figure 8.1 represents the traditional top-down
leadership model. The chain of command is represented by
the arrows which all point one way and the departments
are pictured as separate silos. The leader has been promoted
from one of these departments and while the leader has the
authority, they don’t have the cross-functional experience.

Unlike older generations, the respect of Gen Y is not
gained through age or rank alone. Even in their primary

Table 8.2 Famous leaders who influenced across the


Builders Boomers X-ers Y-ers

Political Winston

John F


Barack Obama

Economic Walt Disney

Lee Iacocca


& Sarah-Jane
Clark (Sass &
Bide – fashion

Infamous Joseph Stalin Fidel Castro Ayatollah


Social Mohandas

Martin Luther
King Jnr

Mother Teresa
of Calcutta

Paul David

Cultural Frank Sinatra John Lennon Stephen

Cate Blanchett

Religious Dietrich

Billy Graham Dalai Lama Benedict XVI



Figure 8.1 20th-century leadership – command and


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170 | The ABC of XYZ Leading and managing | 171

years they were given leadership opportunities and encour-
aged to challenge and independently evaluate other’s deci-
sions. In many ways they are Generation ‘Why!’ As a result,
Gen Y has brought new values to the workplace. Y-ers
expect to be treated as equals, they expect to have choices
and input into decision-making processes, expectations that
run counter to hierarchical systems of leadership. Support-
ing this is the statistic that 97 per cent of Gen Y-ers value
a leadership style that involves empowerment, consultation
and partnership, and would leave if they did not get it.5

Figure 8.2 represents this flat leadership structure. The
ideal manager is one who values communication and cre-
ates an environment of transparency and respect for staff.
Their preferred leadership style is simply one that is more
consensus than command, more participative than auto-
cratic, and more flexible and organic than structured and

Also, because today’s young people have received sup-
port from parents and teachers longer than any other gen-
eration, they want a supportive leader, but not in an overly
structured way. The following quote from Australian Eti-
quette, written in 1959, illustrates just how much the lead-

ership structures have changed – from the hierarchal or
positional to the flatter or relational:

If an employee is summoned to the employer’s room, he

must remain standing until his chief indicates a seat. At

the conclusion of the interview he must leave as quietly as

possible, closing the door gently after him. If a junior meets

his employer in the lift or in the street he should bow but

must not enter into conversation unless first addressed. If an

employee has a need to send a letter to his chief he should

commence it with the words ‘Dear sir’ and conclude with

the words ‘Yours obediently’.

Leadership and management styles

So what leadership and management styles work best?


Style: The positional leader relying on rank and role
Verdict: Might be acceptable in the military or in the 1950s
– but not today


Style: Leader points the way from afar and delegates the
Verdict: Our young workers want guidance not gurus, men-
toring not micromanagement. In fact, when asked what
they admired most about older colleagues, X and Y partici-
pants in our survey on the generations at work selected the
following above all other options: ‘They are good mentors
and I learn much from them.’6







Figure 8.2 21st-century leadership – collaboration and


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172 | The ABC of XYZ Leading and managing | 173


Style: Leader asks the questions and includes the team
Verdict: A good approach. Gen Y has opinions and wants
to voice them. In the same survey, we asked Gens X and Y
participants what bothered them most about older workers.
Of the five choices given to them, the majority of partici-
pants selected: ‘They often stop fresh and innovative ideas
from taking effect.’ 7


Style: The participative leader – leading from within and
leading by example
Verdict: This generation loves a leader who empowers the
team. In a study of Australian Gen Y-ers, ‘being a good lis-
tener’ and ‘leading by example’ were among the top five
characteristics of effective leadership.8


Style: Leadership that is not a positional role but more an
influence relationship

Verdict: This style is ideal for Gen Y.
The leader as coach recognises that the positional

approach which relies on rank and role is less effective
today. Yet the other leadership extreme of an overly rela-
tional approach is equally inappropriate, in that it fails to
give clear direction, frameworks and constructive feedback.
Balance is the key. In the mid-ground the leader asks the
questions and includes the team. The leader is participa-
tive – leading from within and leading by example – and so
both directs and empowers the team. This style of leader-
ship is not a positional role but more an influence relation-
ship. It is more coach than commander.

Figure 8.4 shows the traditional employment model:
pour a lot of staff in the top in the knowledge that many
will fall away but the best will eventually emerge. When the
population structure mirrored this employment structure

Figure 8.3 The positional–relational continuum




Figure 8.4 20th-century employment model

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174 | The ABC of XYZ Leading and managing | 175

(a large supply of emerging workers) this model worked
fine. But this is not the situation today or into the future.
If we don’t like our staff we can’t simply get rid of them
and reach into the labour market to grab another – as dis-
cussed earlier, the full-time labour market is both ageing
and shrinking.

In the 21st century it is sometimes hard to know who is
part of the organisation. The structure is fluid and the doors
are open. Some are regular staff, others part-time, casual,
contracted or employed purely for a project. Figure 8.5 also
shows that, today, people may leave – but they may return
again. It employs with an expectation on function and cur-
rent task and not on seniority and longevity.

So how can employers and other leaders effectively
guide Gen Y-ers? Below are some points to remember in
leading this generation.

• Move from ‘knowing the way’ to ‘showing the way’–
instead of ‘command and control’ leadership, Gen Y-ers
respond to ‘consensus and collaborative’ leadership.

• Adopt people-centred leadership – when asked what
qualities they value in leadership, Y-ers reported
valuing leader honesty, reliability and loyalty. They
desired leaders who were energetic and inspiring, who
maintained a team focus.

• Move from IQ to EQ – try to develop your emotional
intelligence (EQ) and that of your leaders, as it is the
dimension of leadership Generation Y best responds to.

From looking at leading and managing the younger genera-
tions, we now move on to marketing and selling to them.

Figure 8.5 21st-century employment model


Page 8

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