Leaders beat managers on results

HR directors can make a huge difference to their organisations providing they see themselves as "leaders" not "managers".

Prof John Adair, a national adviser on leadership training, believes HR can be a major influence. But the profession needs to follow BP’s lead and stop using the title “manager”.

In 10 years, Adair predicts managers will be subordinate to the business leadership function.

“Some 50 per cent of our needs come from within us and 50 per cent from outsiders, especially from the leadership we encounter,” he said. “Getting extraordinary results from ordinary people is crucial to your future. Get your 50 per cent right before you blame the workforce when things go wrong. The best leaders tend to have a high view of people.”

Adair urged HR directors to:

• Be motivated themselves,

• Select people who are highly motivated,

• Treat people as individuals,

• Set realistic and challenging targets,

• Remember that progress motivates,

• Provide fair rewards,

• Give recognition.

There were several distinctions between leaders and managers. Adair said leaders gave direction, inspired, encouraged and built teams, set an example and produced output and added value. Managers kept organisations running, controlled, administered and minded systems.

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