John Kotter of Harvard Business School published A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management. This topic fleshed out some great concepts.
Leadership is about change and movement — perceiving the need for a new focus, figuring out where the people or systems needs to go, creating strategy to get there and motivating others to make it happen.
Management is a matter of standardization and order — setting goals, defining plans and budgets, organizing and rallying qualified people, and solving problems.
Which of these would you consider your weak spot? Leaders are often derailed because they cannot organize and execute. Managers are sometimes frozen with a lack of what to do next or become slaves to responding to emergencies. But a CAD Manager has to blend them both. I have heard it said, “You can find great thinkers anywhere; it’s really hard to find the people who can get stuff done.” I have also heard “Anyone can be a manager, it takes someone special to be a leader.”
Yet management expertise is inadequate without a vision of what IT can do. Leadership is just rhetoric without a plan to succeed. CAD Managers need to figure out what the firm needs, how they can contribute and who must be involved.
So where do you sit on a scale of 1 to 10 on each scale? Are you a visionary leader that thinks planning is overrated? Are you a Manager who think wild ideas never get the project out the door? You need to be some blend of both.
Take honest stock in your talents and see where you need some bolstering up. Seek mentors in that area and start buying books and reading. Start watching others who have the skills you need. Make sure that you are not so focused on being one – that the other withers on the vine.
While I encourage everyone to expand their expertise as Leaders, never forget that your company most likely pays you to be a Manager, not a leader. Leadership makes your Management skills impact more areas, but if you lack management skills this impact will be negative.
Build your basic management skills first.