What Leaders Really Do

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Organizing and staffing versus aligning people

QuoteThe definition of leadership is to have inspired, energized followers.Quote
–Warren G. Bennis

Organizing is a management process that, at its core, involves creating systems that enable people to implement plans as precisely and efficiently as possible. The processes of organizing and staffing require managers to:

  • Choose a job hierarchy and justify reporting relationships
  • Staff the positions with the appropriate people
  • Provide training for those who need it
  • Communicate plans to the workforce
  • Decide how much authority to delegate, and to whom

The organizing and staffing processes critical to effective management illustrate the complex problem of designing a well-functioning system. However, its leadership counterpart, aligning people, is not a design issue, but rather a communications challenge.

To align people to a vision, a leader must:

  • Solicit input and discussion from a wide range of people
  • Help people to comprehend a vision of an alternative future
  • Get them to believe in and become energized by this vision once it is understood

While organizing people to fulfill a short-term plan is difficult, getting a large number of people from inside and outside the company first to believe in an alternative future, and then to take initiatives based on this shared vision, is often even more challenging.

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