It’s been asked whether people can be managed in the context of innovation. This may seem like a rhetorical question to many, but of course it’s not. And there are many other people who would respond in the complete opposite manner. In fact, most companies have a “People Management” department.

One does not “manage” people. The task is to lead people.And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of each individual. — Peter Drucker

I guess this quote gives you a clear idea about what I’m going to explore in this article? Well yes, you’re right. We agree with Drucker and we also believe that people can not be managed, although many try. People must be led. Especially if we ask them to innovate.

No doubt managers play an essential role in a company. This goes without saying. A good manager is somoene capable of achieving the expected results by utilizing the available resources. If there are no managers and only leaders, the organization may not reach its objectives a lot of the time. Some targets may be reached, not necessarily the ones we want, or those which are necessary.

Managers in companies are not all bad; They’re good and necessary. As long as we know how to balance the dosage of management embedded into each thing. And I say ‘thing’, because in my opinion, people should not be managed but should be led. This is true when a company intends to tap into its people’s full potential and not be limited solely and exclusively to “doing their job.”

Resources are managed, people are not. Humans are not resources; They use resources. On the other hand, many people play the role of “resource”, depending on the leadership style of the organization.

A good manager is aware of this, which influences the way they deal with their team; a good manager not only sees their team members as assets or a means to an end, a good manager conducts themselves as a leader and endeavors to inspire people to do what needs to be done.

What do managers do and what do leaders do?

Without intending to create an exhaustive list, there are some notable differences between managers and leaders, especially in the context of innovation as something that transcends the product and serves as an approach, which is encouraged by the company.

Undoubtedly, when you read this list, you can put a face to the issue, in one way or another, here are my Ten Commandments:

  1. A manager manages resources, a leader develops people’s talent.
  2. A manager engages control, a leader engages trust.
  3. A manager has short-term goals, a leader has middle to long-term goals.
  4. A manager generally reproduces processes, a leader invents them.
  5. A manager imitates existing paradigms, a leader creates something original.
  6. A manager operates within the status quo, a leader challenges it constantly.
  7. A manager generally asks how and when, a leader asks what and why.
  8. A manager worries about competition, a leader worries about incompetence.
  9. A manager reduces risk, a leader takes risks.
  10. A manager employs people, a leader is at their service.

Questions to reflect upon: How many managers could I give a name to on this list? How many leaders? How do you perceive me, as a manager or a leader? How do I want them to perceive me?

What do you think?

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