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By: Samantha McDuffee|April 27, 2015


Pay attention! Complacency at work leads to less innovation, less trust and less loyalty within your organization. Are you encouraging change? Do you reward failure? Is turnover on the rise? Are you making decisions based on intuition and information? Or, only to relieve a sense of anxiety?

When complacency is prevalent, new initiatives do not take root easily and competition is not closely monitored. Proper management will help you identify challenges and lay out plans for change; however, strong leadership is necessary to create a sense of urgency and develop a holistic approach to cultivating productivity at work.

Change management alone is inadequate to deal with competitive pressures that now require faster, bolder responses. Change managers typically drive incremental change, while change leaders are less adverse to taking risks.

It’s important to have a balance. While management will coordinate people and efforts to accomplish goals efficiently and effectively, leaders build an engine around the whole change process and empower teams to fight for the change. Managers know what will work while leaders are driven by good, yet unproven ideas.

Change Managers:

  • Process of change stays under control.
  • All projects stay on budget.
  • Change goals are on a small scale.
  • Stakeholder buy in to change is ensured.
  • There is a change management group within your organization.
  • The vision for change is planned and deliberate.

Change Leaders:

  • Organization’s vision of the future is clearly articulated.
  • Resources are actively mobilized.
  • Change goals are on a large scale.
  • Organization’s leaders inspire stakeholders to believe in the change.
  • Leaders within your organization are guiding the change.
  • The vision for change is urgent and inspires speculative action.

Issues with productivity in the workplace arise when your organization lacks a proper balance between management and leadership. More and more performance reviews include leadership evaluation, but misclassify management skills as leadership qualities.  Organizations then cultivate and recruit teams that are over-managed and under-led.

To cultivate and attract more leadership, encourage and look for:

  • Transparency
  • Shared credit
  • Mentoring
  • Vision
  • Energy and optimism
  • Passion
  • Decisiveness
  • A “championing” attitude

Great leaders and great managers listen well, are curious, manage their self-talk, and hold themselves accountable for moving the business forward. The ultimate goals are the same – the path to get there may differ. To maintain a delicate balance:

  • Ensure optimal employee awareness.
  • Cultivate accountability and empowerment.
  • Inspire, don’t control.

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