By- Prof. Kankana Mukhopadhyay
Organization needs persistent, tough, smart, analytical managers with good will that is valued by its stakeholders. But, even with these qualities, managers cannot properly shape employees’ passions and imaginations that are appreciated by customers. Even they are unable to anticipate or simulate the changes that the organization requires. Managers are good at routine kind of situations where not much innovativeness, power of anticipation, risk taking abilities required. Leaders are often attracted towards ideas. They feel instigated to raise the expectation level of their surrounding people. Therefore, discussions are required in this regard to understand what the corporates want, managers or leaders.
It may be argued that inspiration, vision and human passion are predominantly required to ensure corporate success. These are often termed as leadership elements. Hence, the point of argument is whether managers are sufficient to visualize the big picture beyond the wall and inspire and subsequently drive human passion in fulfilling those aspiring parts of vision. So, the question is “Can managers become effective leaders”? The answer is ‘yes’. Let us understand the concept with a story:
Once upon a time a group of soldiers after fighting and winning a battle on their way back home lost into a hilly forest. They were hungry and fatigued, as a result did not have much strength left to search for the way out. Under the approaching dark, they were disoriented and had no chance of surviving the night in the freezing temperatures. Whatever little ways were visible; all appeared to be the same to them. Hence, they were completely clueless which way to go.
Suddenly, one of them found a map hanging from the zip of his kitbag. He alerted everyone and appeared to be plotting a route. Everyone felt rejuvenated and started following his instructions. In this process everyone was so engrossed that ultimately they found out a way. After coming back to the camp one soldier looked at the map very enthusiastically and found that the map had nothing to do with the route they explored, it was actually about a different distance place.
It’s like the old saying – when you’re lost, any old map will do.
Leadership entails vision. Otherwise where are you leading people to? If you don’t know where you want to go to – and if you can’t communicate that direction effectively – then you have no right to ask people to join you on the journey.
But, as we understand that only giving direction is not sufficient, it has to be properly executed with proper coordination, interaction and implementation of the technical know-how. Hence effective management is a perfect blend of leadership and managerial skills. Their congruence ensures productivity that is valued by the customers. Hence, in search of excellence, corporates are left with no other option but to create leaders with effective managerial orientation.
In this endeavor, the roles of B-Schools are enormous in forming incubation centers wherein young graduates with fresh brains can experiment with their innovative ideas and thereby learn effective people management skills to shape their ideas into productive outcomes that are of value to the society.