Leadership and Management

This article first appeared in Volunteer Victoria’s E-Link newsletter on July 15th , 2011. Sign up for E-Link and keep current with news and information from Volunteer Victoria.

Leadership and Management

In turbulent times, people often re-visit their assumptions and explore more closely the actions that helped contribute to organizational successes and failures. For many years, Henry Mintzberg, the Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University, has explored the wisdom of focusing on organizational leadership at the detriment of investing in good management and he often shares his thoughts on the pitfalls of any number of much-championed tools and frameworks.

Mintzberg is an advocate of investing in human beings rather than human resources and suggests that the most successful and sustainable organizations and managers invest in the tools, motivation, training, and organizational culture that teams need to fuel action. He concludes that rather than “stepping back and managing information through budgets and objectives and delegating tasks and designing organizational structures and those sorts of things” that organization’s have to empower stakeholders to share ideas and embrace actions so that they can make a difference.

One of his examples: A staff member at IKEA is credited with taking the legs off their furniture so it could fit in a car. The genius was not just the idea to remove the legs but the wisdom to share the idea with others who knew how to apply it in a million helpful ways and with those who said thank-you and always credited the employee for the idea that helped change the way the world thinks about furniture.

When you have ideas and actions that make a difference please remember to share them widely. The ideas won’t fit everywhere and many will need adjusting, but the community will say thank you and we will help to change their worlds.

‘What Managers Really Do.’ Wall Street Journal August 2009

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