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Manage People or Manage Tasks? That is the question

Updated: Apr 13

I don’t believe that CEOs should necessarily know anything about the business they lead. The spirit of effective leadership lies not in directing tasks, but in creating a collaborative environment where everyone works in harmony towards a common goal. The essence of leadership is about guiding, not directing; it is about painting a vision that everyone in the organization can see themselves in and work towards collectively.

Now, you might wonder, how will anyone know their responsibilities if no one tells them what to do? The key here is to understand the distinction between task management and people management. While it is true that team members will require guidance and training, this is not management’s main role. The primary function of managers, and even more of leaders, is to facilitate teamwork, and to forge a path that everyone will follow together in harmony. This path, this direction is what we call a vision. And it is the most important in leadership.

In the corporate world, leaders still articulate their vision in terms of strategy, but this might fall short of today’s teams’ expectations. A vision should transcend mere business objectives; it should be broader, more inspiring, something that unites and motivates teams. The task of a leader is to set this direction, instill confidence in their team, and trust in their abilities to bring the vision to life. Nothing more.

This leadership style is called charismatic, and it is the most fundamental leadership style. This style, and its modern corporate iteration, transformational leadership, both revolve around a compelling vision. The most influential leaders are charismatic, including spiritual figures who have, more than anyone else, harnessed this approach effectively. Their visions, Buddha’s end of suffering, Jesus’ kingdom of heaven, or Gandhi’s non-violence, have united people for generations.

As a corporate leader, whether you are a CEO or a business founder, your challenge is to craft a vision that not only unites your team but also aligns with your business goals. This vision should be potent, heartfelt, and unifying. You need to believe in it wholeheartedly, champion it, and embody it. It might sound daunting, but in the realm of effective leadership, it is a fundamental pillar. Think about it: Can you truly lead without a vision that resonates with and motivates your team? Do you really have time for anything else? What can be more important? What else do your people need you for? Honestly? Nothing... Give them the vision and they’ll manage the rest.

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