Helen Green

Leading for the Future

The UK Government has published a document outlining the role which leadership has to play in driving the future of manufacturing within this country. Although the document is aimed at the manufacturing industry, it contains important insights which run across the business boundaries.

Opening up with the premise that “leadership is one of the most talked about yet least understood concepts in business and society” the study aims to address the current state of leadership within the UK, differentiate between leadership and management and highlight the future role of leaders within the manufacturing industry. Along the way the report dives into widespread leadership theory including the way in which leaders need not necessarily sit at the top of the hierarchy, the difference between transformational and transactional leadership and Servant leadership.

For those who find it difficult to distinguish between leadership and management, Appendix A of the report sets out a very informative comparison table which is headed by leadership “is about inspiring and supporting people to do things” whilst management “is about telling others what to do.” Scanning through the list which has been gleaned from many sources what stands out about the leadership is the way in which it is packed with words such as inspire, trust, creation and vision.

And the conclusion of the report is unequivocal: “Research shows direct relationships between quality of leadership and management, especially leadership and management skills, practices and processes, and business outcomes. Transforming management and leadership capacity, especially through specified behaviours, skills, and practices and processes will have major benefits for firms.