Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good players are not always Good managers

In the Do you have the right leaders for your growth strategies?[i] the authors claim that leadership quality is critical to growth. The author also insists that certain competencies are more important to some growth strategies. In this article, one of the interesting results of their survey is there's no measurable correlation between revenue growth and teams with solid but unexceptional leadership.

When I was working at a big IT vender which is like IBM in Japan, I could not find leaders who showed leadership competencies especially among manager and senior manager class. They were specialists in their sections, such as exceptional salespersons, IT experts, and production control specialists. However, they didnt have or at least show leadership competencies, such as market insight, strategic orientation, and team leadership. The team had a boss, but no leader. The team was solid thanks to the team members and trust in the bosss exceptional performance on an individual basis, however the productivity of the sector never improved. In short, good players are not always good managers. 

One of the major faults of this issue is the promotion system. I don't know the ins and outs of the promotion system in the US, I assume great performers in their field promote faster than others. Needless to say, people expect their boss to be a good leader. However, is this the most reliable way to find the next effective / influential boss?

To solve this problem, I heard some companies adopt 360 degree feedback for promotion. Some companies also have leadership programs for managers or send managers to leadership gyms. I assume those programs might have some ideas on how to best solve this problem. But in my  experience, a leader type person is always a leader whether he or she wants or not. Undoubtedly, they also promote faster. 

Considering these aspects, I assume high growth companies have some factors that attract leader type people. Those factors maybe consists of such as organization culture, high salary and companies missions. Analyzing the reasons why leader type people choose companies should be included in the recruiting strategy and it might have an effective impact towards companies growth. 

[i] Katharina herrmann, Asmus Komm, and Sven Smit. "Do you have the right leaders for your growth strategies" The Mckinsey Quarterly July 2011

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