The Softer Side of Leadership.(becoming a better manager)
Somerset, Felicity. "The Softer Side of Leadership."
Oct. 2001: 12.
. Web. 16 June 2011.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Society of Management Accountants of Canada
How to take your leadership to a deeper level
As a competent manager, you may feel confident about your skills but are looking for a way to
move to the next step -- to become not only a manager, but also a leader. Management is
different from leadership. In What Leaders Really Do (1999), John P. Kotter suggests that
managers cope with complexity through such functions as planning and budgeting, organizing
and staffing, controlling and problem-solving. Leaders, on the other hand, cope with change by
setting direction, aligning people behind that direction, motivating and inspiring.
You can be both a manager and a leader, but being a leader may be more difficult. At a
Conference Board of Canada conference in April 2001, Anne Golden, the new president of the
Board, suggested that Canada's business leaders need to have a "greater capacity to see the
bigger picture and gauge the impact of their decisions." She also told conference participants that
"little is being done to groom the next generation of leaders" (Globe and Mall, April 9, 2001).
Leadership is not always exercised in a position at or near the top of an organization. Leadership
can be distributed across an organization, and developing your leadership skills need not depend
on your job title.
Deepening your Leadership capacity
Deepening your capacity for leadership entails developing what have been called the "soft skills"
of leadership. They include a blend of cognitive, emotional, social and physical skills. For
example, a leader in setting direction requires the skill to see the big picture and to define a
future-oriented vision that is compelling and attractive. Leaders need to be able to think
strategically, rather than tactically, to provide the framework for implementing the vision. The
leader's role in coping with change requires a flexibility and responsiveness to the complexities
of the environment outside and inside the organization. Leaders are called upon to resolve
dilenunas when circumstances change, and to make hard decisions while recognizing their
impact on the organization and the people in it. These cognitive skills need to be linked closely