Control and delegation are two sides of the same coin and in my early career my instinct was to try and control everything. ‘I need a plan pulled together by the end of the day’ said my manager, so I’d bust a gut producing a plan by myself. ‘We need 25 runs to win’ said my captain as I walked out to bat, so I’d aim to get them all myself. As you can imagine with an attitude like that my success rate was mixed, but at least I gave it a good go!
It may look selfish but my reason for tackling the problem in had in the way I did was that I perceived the quickest and best way to get anything done was to do it myself. As the saying goes, if a job’s worth doing…do it yourself! Up to this point nobody had ever properly explained to me to me that working with and through others was by far the most effective way of doing things. This assumes of course that they understood what I wanted and were keen to help out. However by understanding the skills, tools and techniques to do this and then applying this in practice allowed me to do more and in turn this improved my skills as a project manager.
But what is the difference between being a good manager and becoming a great leader? I think the words of Sir Alex Ferguson sums it up quite well:
“The world is full of able managers and there are corporate training schemes to churn out managers by the thousand. At Manchester United we had plenty of people who could manage aspects of our activities far better than I could. The Head Groundsman knew far more about the technology of soil management and irrigation than I did. The doctors managed a realm whose subtleties I could not pretend to understand. The head of our youth academy knew far more about the abilities of each of the lads in the programme than I did. I slowly came to the realisation that my job was different. My job was to set high standards. It was to help everyone else believe that they could do things that they didn’t think they were capable of. It was to chart a course that had not been pursued before. It was to make everyone believe that the impossible was possible…that is the difference between leadership and management.”