How Ordinary Management Can Become Extraordinary Leadership

Ordinary management is crucial. The ability to step into a situation, understand the complex web of intertwining relationships, and manage the people and resources to accomplish a goal are critical skills for all executives. According to Mike Chitty in his article, “Ordinary and Extraordinary Leadership”, management is the efficiency-based, improvement-oriented focus on the present situation. Ordinary simply means the implementation of well-known principles to a situation that is relatively black and white. He makes sure to note that ordinary is difficult, and should in no way be undervalued, with even the best managers needing years of practice to master it.

Leadership, while not mutually exclusive of management, is the visionary focus on the future. Extraordinary applies to the implication that the solution to a situation is not clear, that there is disagreement and absolutely no guarantee that the steps taken to solve a problem will succeed. The greatest executives within a company must be both managers and leaders. According to Mike Chitty, the set of skills common to all extraordinary leaders includes: Creativity and political/emotional intelligence, confidence, and the ability to work through disagreement.

An extraordinary leader will apply an iterative process of hypothesizing, testing, measuring, learning, and trying again. However, the most important part of this iterative process is the ability to bring people on board, to convince employees and coworkers to stand by you. To do this, leaders must build relationships and give feedback, delegate and manage priorities. Building relationships across an organization can work to break down imaginary hierarchical walls and allow leaders to better build trust and courage from others. Giving useful and constructive feedback, Mike Chitty states, “must become a fabric of a leader’s regular responsibilities.” This not only helps build relationships, but also helps leaders grow both personally and professionally. Delegating tasks and managing priorities are soft skills needed to ensure that the proper focus is given to improving an organization rather than just maintaining it.

Extraordinary leaders must build relationships and manage priorities to convince others that the difficult steps taken today will lead to a better future. In a day to day setting, executives must apply standard operating practice and management techniques to ensure effective operation of a company while at the same time, working to lead others toward growth and positive transformation.

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Posted by Michael O'Donnell in Management

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