Sunday, 25 July 2010

Thought for the Day: Leaders and Managers

There's been a couple of vacancies at higher grades that have been advertised at work and I've been asked if I will be applying.  In the past I might have thought about it.  After all. I was educated to mindlessly pursue career advancement without actually knowing why.  But for the time-being I'm staying put.  There are often  abundant challenges in my current role and my colleagues are about the nicest bunch of people that you could wish to work with.

On several occasions I've asked myself if I want to be a manager and the answer comes back again and again as a resounding no.  It seems that on the junior rungs of the management ladder the role is very much as a conduit for implementing policy and I question whether there is scope for being as creative as I can be in a clinical post.

I discussed this in supervision this week with someone with a wise head.  They prompted me to think about the differences between a leader and a manager.  Now a quick search on Goggle has highlighted that this is probably an essay that every business studies student has to write and there's shedloads of information out there, even self tests to do.  What comes across as a central theme. Leadership is seen where people are motivated to follow  a person and exercise choice to do so.  Managers have power vested in them by an organisation.  Their subordinates work under them, not through choice but because there are extrinsic rewards (e.g.  a salary)  for doing so.  Although management and leadership are not mutually exclusive we can all probably think of people we've met who've managed us but we've not been inspired to follow them.

The revelation is that I can lead from a subordinate role.  I can get out my virtual secateurs and where necessary  cut through the paths  through the mazes that managers in the  NHS have created by the way I practice and disseminating this through writing, teaching and mentoring others.  And others might be inspired to follow me through the gaps I've made.  So, I'm sticking to my guns,  retaining the option to think freely and creatively and aspiring to be a leader from my minion position!

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