Polarizing Leadership in Presidential Debates

All three of the likely presidential candidates have recently made a comment that goes something like…”I am going to lead in the White House, not manage!”  Is anyone else worried about the kind of rhetoric that paints leadership as purely about vision and enrollment, leaving the domain of actually getting work done to management?  Why do we have to polarize task and relationship by vilifying one and canonizing the other?

Leadership is a combination of both task and relationship skills.  Great execution in the absence of vision and collaboration can consume huge amounts of resource in pursuit of flawed outcomes.  Vision and strategy with no capacity to execute are pie in the sky and will kill credibility on sight.  Leadership is not a debate between task and relationship.  Instead it is a matter of HOW we do task and relationship.

The effective leader does not depend on command and control exclusively to get work done.  Sustainable productivity, except in the case of a war room style emergency (The transaction processing system is down!) is the preferred style of task management for the effective leader.  There is a clear focus on achieving results, but not driven by a willingness to climb over the back of others or create a wake of destruction.

Similarly, the effective leader fosters and environment for team play and collaboration.  Projects and assignments are delegated not only for effective completion, but as development opportunities in order to develop bench strength for succession planning.  Conflict is not a thing to be feared- easy and convenient answers are.

Want a quick assessment of your own leadership capacity?  Get some feedback on how you balance task and relationship- and how you approach both parts of the whole.