How does developmental leadership differ from performance leadership?

by HRD06 Dec 2017
Jay Hedley of The Coaching Room outlines the key differences between managing and leading, and why leadership can be a disruptive process

What is the difference between managing and leading?
As Canadian author Bob Willard said, “Leading is doing the right things, managing is doing things right.”

Leading is different from managing as its core concern is about others. Leading is about creating, exploring, and communicating meaning and value with intentionality. Leaders engage others in a future vision of possibility. It starts with dreaming and a focus on mismatching the present and the future. This emphasis on the future versus the present is one of the key differences between managing and leading. Management is about the here and now, while leadership is about the future and the possibility of that future. Leaders do not manage the status quo; they want to disrupt the status quo in service of its future potential.

Why is leadership a disruptive process?
A new style of leadership has emerged that is centred on connecting and engaging with people to understand where their potential exists. This goes beyond personalities and differences that seek to maintain the status quo. Leadership is about disruption in service of taking people into a space of discomfort in service of finding out their possibilities. Leaders need to become specialists in human beings as we are shifting out of the phases of knowledge into a phase of development to awaken the potential within people.

People are naturally uncomfortable with disruption, which creates a culture based on the status quo. This points to managing culture and a desire for continued circumstances. To create a more purposeful culture within a business is to intentionally disrupt the current culture in service of customers. Organisations exist to serve customers, but when they become complacent, the market moves on and so do their customers. As the needs of customers shift and change, organisations need to be adaptive or they will get left behind.

How does developmental leadership differ from performance leadership?
Performance leadership is managing in the third- and fourth-person perspective. It is managing behaviours and actions against set criteria that are observable and changeable with a focus on change. From a fourthperson perspective, systems must also change to create a functional fit that allows people to perform in their roles. Performance leadership facilitates change in performance through actions and behaviours.

Developmental leadership is about a first- and second-person perspective. This type of leadership develops the interior of the individual in service of the exterior. It creates a social system that allows teams and people to connect and interact. Developmental leadership involves coaching and developing the collective interior in service of the exterior, which is a translation of the interior.

In 2018, we will be offering five-day leadership workshops to help people become enlightened leaders with the ability to lead people to their possibilities. This program is designed for leaders who want to improve their leadership skills and lead more effectively.

Jay Hedley

Managing partner


Most Read