Published on November 7, 2023, 6:39 am

TLDR: In the CIO role, there is often a focus on leadership, but it's important not to overlook the importance of management. Management focuses on day-to-day operations and ensuring work is executed effectively, while leadership involves setting direction, making decisions, and motivating teams. Both leadership and management are vital for organizational success, and it's important to give equal respect to both. Valuing the contributions of employees who do the actual work is crucial.

When it comes to the CIO role, there is often a distinction made between management and leadership. While leadership may hold more mystique, it is important not to disregard the value of management in getting work done efficiently.

Management focuses on day-to-day operations and ensuring that work is executed effectively. It is about overseeing processes, implementing tools for productivity, and organizing resources. Leadership, on the other hand, involves setting direction, making decisions, motivating teams, and creating a positive organizational culture.

Peter Drucker famously stated that “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” While this division of labor is valid, we must not overlook the importance of actually getting things done. Some consultants perpetuate the myth that certain activities are not worth improving or doing at all. However, anecdotal evidence is insufficient to determine whether something has real value or not.

It is true that leadership often receives more attention and respect than management. One could argue that giving due recognition to those who actually do the work might lead to higher compensation for them compared to those in managerial positions. Since there are usually more employees than managers in an organization, valuing their contributions could be costly.

Leading requires significant effort and time because it involves working with people and addressing their needs. Leaders must set direction, make decisions, delegate tasks, motivate teams, build a positive team dynamic, shape company culture, and communicate effectively. Success as a leader depends on carefully budgeting time for each task.

In contrast to leadership’s focus on people and decision-making, management concentrates on organizing processes and implementing tools to enhance productivity. This distinction means that management includes leadership as one of its many responsibilities. Considering this factor alone suggests that management deserves greater respect than simply being told they need to be leaders as well.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that people are more complex than processes or technology. Leadership requires a deeper understanding of individuals and a more empathetic approach. It demands more time and delicacy in handling interpersonal dynamics.

Ultimately, both leadership and management are vital for an organization’s success. Those in charge should give equal respect to both and recognize the contributions of employees who do the actual work. The role of the CIO encompasses both leadership and management responsibilities, requiring a balanced approach to ensure organizational effectiveness.

Bob Lewis, a senior management and IT consultant, specializes in IT and business organizational effectiveness, strategy-to-action planning, and business/IT integration. He emphasizes the importance of valuing both leadership and management in his work. To learn more from Lewis, you can visit his blog called Keep the Joint Running.


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