Leaders vs Managers when implementing improvement?

What if I answer my question in the first sentence, saying both are important – will you read on to find out more?

It is common to summarise differences between leadership and management;

What is less clear are the ways in which leaders and managers can implement change by working together. Here are some ideas that have been prompted by reviewing recent research papers.

  • It is ideal when leaders and managers set the goal and purpose for a change together; then the managers can write the plans and timeline while leaders focus on facilitating and engaging individuals and groups of staff to identify personal benefits   [change needs to be well organised but individuals need to see the benefit of their participation for it to be sustainable]
  • Often a new way of working has to be established;most people will look to managers to set the new standards, but leaders will often prepare and motivate individuals to try out and adhere to the new ways of working
  • When managers are aware of and can participate in a change (that will affect them), they are more inclined to ensure sufficient resources and staffing; however it will usually require leaders to emphasise what is important and therefore to establish a cultural change to support the new habits
  • While leaders are often the ones to support and supervise staff, it is managers who support training and set up systems to ensure this is maintained
  • For any change to be sustained, there needs to be regular monitoring and feedback to ensure slight modifications over time; often leaders can identify the areas that are most sensitive to change, from listening to and understanding their staff, but it is managers who can implement efficient  systems to monitor quality, accuracy and consistency as part of everyday practice; further it is positive feedback from new habits that will reinforce and continue behavioural change

Hope these are some useful and practical ideas to play with – feedback is welcome…

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I conduct and supervise research that promotes the translation of quality research evidence for use in clinical practice.

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Posted in change, implementation, improvement, leadership, management

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