What Leaders Really do? An XIME student's take on a HBR article

Anandita Chaudhari, XIME, Batch 2021 – 2023

This article has been written by Anandita Chaudhari, XIME, Batch 2021 – 2023. Here, she shares her take on the classic Harvard Business Review article “What Leaders Really Do?” by John Kotter

Anandita Chaudhari, XIME, Batch 2021 – 2023

What do Leaders really do?  

In 2005, Perlmutter was named CEO of Marvel. He's notorious for being frugal, keeping a low headcount, and even pulling paper clips out of the garbage. When Marvel Comics went bankrupt in 1996, Isaac Perlmutter was a member of the board of directors. As the owner of Toy Biz, Inc., he was instrumental in bringing the firm out of bankruptcy in 1998 by merging it with Marvel. Marvel increased its cash flow and stock price by focusing on media and product licensing. Walt Disney purchased Marvel for around $4 billion in 2009. Perlmutter is still the CEO of Marvel, which is currently valued at $4.2 billion. He took ownership and accountability for the organisation and the staff. Only a leader can perform both tasks of instructing an organization and looking for paper clips in the trash. It starts with the leader's emotional attachment to the company. When the organisation succeeds, the leader is ecstatic, but he or she is clearly distressed during difficult times. The connection is strong. However, there is never any doubt about where organisational and personal goals stand in relation to one another. Personal ambitions are constantly sacrificed to group aims, which are always overcome by the needs of the larger organisation.

Some people mistakenly believe that being responsible and being accountable are the same thing. Accountability means you are responsible for the outputs or outcomes of a project or activity and willing to accept them. However, accountability extends far further. It's the mindset that says, "I am the one who has to make this happen," whether it's because you believe it or because your profession needs it, or because you're bound by some social force. This behaviour is displayed by the responsible leader in a variety of ways. It has an impact on how a leader interacts with subordinates, superiors, and other departments within the firm. Finally, it covers a broad range of beliefs and attitudes.

People working under leaders and supervisors experience various emotions. A manager's job is to eliminate slack from the workplace and ensure that goals are met. They are the ones that employees must answer to and obey, which might cause tension in their relationship.

Leaders, on the other hand, have a distinct aura. People look to them for inspiration, as well as for all of the ideas and answers, and as the embodiment of their own professional ambitions and dreams. A leader is frequently regarded as a larger-than-life personality who is more than merely his superior.

Kotter outlined a step-by-step process for assisting individuals in achieving the organization's vision, including involving people in decision-making, acting as a positive role model, offering coaching and feedback, and applauding people when they achieve success.

The most poisonous half-truth about leadership is that it's all about charisma and vision, which you either have or don't. Leadership abilities are not something that comes naturally. They may be learned and refined. But first, you must understand how they differ from management abilities. Management is about dealing with complexity; it gives a situation order and predictability. But, in order to be successful, businesses must be able to adapt to change. Learning to deal with rapid change is so crucial to leadership. Both entail determining what must be done, forming networks of people to carry out the agenda, and ensuring that the task is completed. Their work is complementary, but each action system approaches the issue differently.

Generational shifts in the workplace are a normal part of life. While generational similarities exceed generational differences, those differences can present themselves in a variety of ways. One example is leadership expectations, which can differ significantly between generations of employees. Because millennials see diversity and inclusion as important components of a successful business and society, it's natural that they'd want to work for companies that share their viewpoint. Firms should therefore personify diversity and inclusiveness in their culture to attract young talent. This includes ensuring that a sense of shared belonging and confidence in the organization's bigger mission drives performance and innovation from all stakeholders. It's also critical for corporations to address issues like corporate social responsibility and charity, which are particularly important to millennials. Understanding the unique social and historical backdrop of millennials is crucial for firms aiming to acquire, develop, and retain productive people and establish a lasting competitive advantage in the marketplace.

 Many of these distinctions between a leader and a manager are eroding as entrepreneurship adopts a more hands-on approach to the issues of the new millennium. The two attributes are now being adopted by the professional world's movers and shakers, and the effects are undeniable.

The organisation benefits greatly from the confluence of both of these attributes. When a professional is both a terrific leader and a great manager, they can do incredible things.

Now that you know more about the difference between leaders and managers, are you ready to take the next step in your career? Apply to our PGDM program at XIME today!

Leave a Comment

Amod Vijayvargiya | Oct 28, 2022

This is a great article, Anandita. I completely agree with your points, and especially interested in how the millennials' preferences are changing workplaces and the kind of leadership needed. Let's discuss.

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