For some, the term leader and manager are synonymous. Within the context of new leadership paradigms, they are incredibly different. A great book on leadership that explains this difference is called “The Heart of Coaching”, written by Thomas Crane.
Old school management theory would purport that people are inherently irresponsible, lazy, need a boss and orders to follow, require structure and control. Their experience supports this view, largely because this kind of leadership creates an environment where people are reduced to that kind of behaviour. This undermines self-confidence and disempowers people. This robs not only the individual employees from an opportunity to experience more fulfilling work, but the organization of the full depth of creativity and discretionary effort each employee could have brought to the table.
Progressive management theory starts from a different assumption about people. It assumes that people:
• naturally function effectively within an appropriate environment, and that this is a source of fulfillment for them
• have great capacity, and having creative control over their work unleashes commitment and a sense of ownership
• are internally motivated, and they respond well to the opportunity to contribute to meaningful goals
• respond appropriately to being treated with trust andhonesty
Our assumptions about people lead us to create an environment where those theories prove themselves true. By changing your assumptions, you can start creating an environment and culture where people give you their best.