Effective Leadership

by Olivier Herlin*

In my last blog entry I concluded that the study of Protocol and Diplomacy was an important tool in the toolkit of leaders. And that Leadership Development tools could be important additions in the toolkit of Protocol & Diplomacy professionals.

Capitalizing on this idea I realized that protocol officers or diplomats also cumulate the role of managers and leaders. Indeed, protocol officers organize official ceremonies such as official state visits involving management activities such as planning, staffing, analyzing or synthetizing.  Diplomats being official representatives of their countries have an important management function in the host country that is managing communication in order to maintain or improve the image of their home country, fostering as a result a climate of mutual respect.

What is more, protocol officers or diplomats do not work in solo but together with people or teams in order to achieve their tasks or objectives. It is therefore, in my opinion, important that protocol officers and diplomats know the specifics about management functions as well as developing leadership skills.

Having acquired in recent years some expertise in leadership development and co-founded a non-profit organization with the aim of democratizing leadership, I will in the next series of my blog articles introduce some proven leadership concepts or tools and connect them to the role of manager/leaders of protocol officers and diplomats.

However, I want to inaugurate this series of posts by defining or re-defining the related terms.

For many people the difference between Management and Leadership simply does not exist. They think that the task of managing means automatically leading. This is of course too simple and completely wrong. Both Management and Leadership are in fact “activities”. Managing is an activity usually done by a person, the manager. Leadership then is also an activity performed by an individual, the leader. Of course, you may be tempted to say isn’t a manager also a leader?… Yes, he/she should be. But it is important to understand what those two activities really imply. So let’s define both terms:

Management = the accomplishment of an organization’s objectives through the activities of others (Tesone 2010). An organization is a group of individuals working together to achieve common goals through providing services. For achieving this mission, an organization will develop its own culture consisting of shared values, attitudes and beliefs in order to engage all stakeholders and secure their commitments. The Manager will be the individual who will organize the work of others under his/her supervision so that the organization objectives are met.

Leadership= is an influencing activity while “management” refers to planning, organizing and controlling functions (Maxwell 2002). Leadership is the process used to lead. It is like “Friend” and “Friendship”. The friend is the person and friendship is the process to build or nurture the relation between 2 persons who like each other.

An “Apprentice” is the person learning, “Apprenticeship” is the process where the apprentice will learn. By looking at those two definitions, we can already separate the activity from the individual. The leader is the person, leadership is the process.

 Let’s define then a Manager and a Leader:

Manager= Is a person with formal authority who will ensure the organization goals and objectives are achieved through the work of subordinates. The role of a manager is to delegate tasks and to make sure they are performed with respect to the procedures. The manager is the person taking final decisions and the one that will be accountable for the results of those decisions.

Leader= Is the person who will lead. In other words, the leader who can also be a manager will, by his/her leading style, motivate subordinates or followers to accomplish tasks. Subordinates or followers will accomplish them with pleasure and professionalism or just because they have to without heart. It all depends on how the leader can influence subordinates. If the leading style is too authoritative, subordinates may be demotivated and just accomplishing tasks to avoid punishment. If the leading style is too relax or friendly, the leader may end up doing tasks of subordinates because they will take advantage of the weakness of the leader.

As you can see, it is important to understand the differences at this stage between Management/Leadership which are considered as distinct activities and the persons, Managers and Leaders who actually perform both activities during their duties.

It is interesting to notice that if leadership is an activity of influencing others (of course in a positive way…) it is then completely distinct from a position! Therefore, Leadership is an art that can be performed by everyone. If you ever had an influence on friends or relatives, you obviously performed the activity of leadership unconsciously and may have a natural tendency to be a leader. If you think that it hasn’t been the case at all until now, and you wonder how in the future you can perform the activity of leadership on others, know that the old adage “Leaders are born not made” is completely wrong. Today, leadership is a field of study and numerous tools have been developed for people to learn how to become effective leaders influencing others for higher performance in organizations.

Leadership is an art requiring skills and as every form of art, one needs to develop those skills to become better at it. It is a journey, not a destination. This is why often you will find the term “Leadership Development”. Even top CEO’s of large multi-national companies go through “Leadership development” programs throughout their career. It is also an art that evolves along with society. It is important to follow the trends in leadership so you can adapt what you have learned in the past to remain up to date.

In the next blog I will discuss how leadership is a shared process when applying a fundamental model  that is easy to understand and apply, especially by protocol officers and diplomats of any level.

*About the author:

Olivier Herlin is Academic Coordinator at the ISPD and Co-founder of Beamable.org


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