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Last Update: Sunday September 27, 2020

Key Idea: Manage And Lead

Dr Keith Grint is an author and professor of manager.  He says leaders must balance being a visionary with paying attention to the details.  

Key Question:


The distinction isn’t real. Within an organization that effectively operates as a team, each individual assumes, at different times, the role of leader and the role of manager. We certainly saw that at Record Technology, Black Diamond and Joseph’s Lite Cookies today. Small businesses that focus on the customer will put their own people in different roles at different times based on what ultimately serves the customer best. As an additional benefit, this is invigorating to the employee. No one is pigeon holed, no one is subservient. The organization is fluid and the focus is common, the customer.

Think about it

Do you manage better than you lead? Do you lead better than you manage? Which area should you personally improve in? Can each person in your organization improve in leadership? In management? What steps can you take to foster everyone's advancement?

Clip from: Leadership with Keith Grint

Truly exchanging ideas is a starting point for leadership.

The World: Meet Prof. Dr. Keith Grint.  In this episode, he explains why we are so frustrated with the leadership who dominate the headlines. He makes it clear that it is time to turn away from the selfish people and look to each other to find the heart of real leadership. 

Dr. Grint says that having a vision is certainly a starting point but that the "vision thing" has been overrated. Anybody can have a dream or a picture of how they want their world or their company to look but very few are good at putting the plans in place then taking action on those plans to turn the vision into reality.

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Said Business School, Oxford

Keith Grint, Professor of Public Leadership

Executive Education Centre
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Manage And Lead

HATTIE: Is there a difference between a manager and a leader? Is that the dull, boring, most ordinary question in the whole world?

DR. GRINT: Well that's not necessarily dull and boring, it's very controversial and there's lots of people who have written about it.

For what it's worth, I think there's a problem in differentiating between management and leadership, because the more you differentiate, the more the interesting things get put on with leadership and the more the boring bits get put on with management.

The consequence of all that is that if you're just designated as a manager, you're nobody, you're going nowhere. But if you're a leader then you get all the responsibility and all the rewards.

I think organizations that succeed need to have people who are managing as well as people who are leading. And I really think that we need to stop in some ways bifurcating this between management and leadership and putting both of -- perhaps differentiating between administration and leadership and putting them both under the tool or the label of management.

So we have management at the top, everybody's a manager and within that you all have to lead and you all have to do some administration. So there are some very interesting leaders who are totally inept at administration who can sell you all kinds of visions, but have absolutely no way of knowing how to get to where you want to go. So, they're as problematic as people who don't have any vision at all. So I'm not a great fan of the distinction between management and leadership and the more we talk about just leadership being important, the more difficult it becomes to manage. I don't think the vision thing is a big thing.

I don't think that's a big deal. It doesn't take very long or a great deal of imagination to imagine a vision. What's difficult is how to get from the vision to wherever it is you want to go to. So how you get from A to B. If you look at the list of characteristics that you need to be a successful leader, the only one that really matters is you need to be successful. The rest you can just follow from there. So this is the kind of reversal of the listing process. The listings are irrelevant. There are lots of people I know who are successful leaders who have none of those competencies, but they're successful. And that's the only one that you need to have.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) And we've met scores of successful leaders. Business owners and the people who work with them to bring quality products and services to the market. They're not afraid to lead us into a better world.

HATTIE: (In the Studio) We now have it straight. Leaders must manage and managers must lead. As business owners we can't run and hide. We have a position of power whether we like it or not. From that position we can build by installing systems, listening and respecting others and most importantly, thinking beyond ourselves. That's leadership. We'll see you next time.

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