HERE’S THE SECRET….If you want to break the glass ceiling!

HERE’S THE SECRET….If you want to break the glass ceiling!

My good friend, Elene Cafasso, asked me recently why I call them “Leadership-Managers” while most coaches call them Leaders?

It’s because of a consulting assignment I had with the late Arthur Andersen LLP back in the ‘90’s.  I facilitated a meeting in Chicago with about 10 Arthur executives on the discussion of what the difference was between a leader and a manager. As I recall, it was a heated discussion with the HR executive wanting to change the title  from manager to leader.  Her opinion was that she felt the direct reports were intimidated by the word “manager,” while they were very comfortable with the title of “leader.”

It is during that meeting that it became obvious that an executive had to master more than just leadership principles, and they came up with the term, “leadership-manager” for those who did.

From that time on it became a fetish of mine to determine the competencies of a leadership-manager, so my management consulting firm took on the task to identify the functions of leadership-management that we found in assignments with successful CEOs and executives, and their corresponding competencies.

We identified six functions of leadership management within these assignments that CEOs and executives were pragmatic about.  They were functions not taught in MBA programs, and particularly not the  competencies of each function.   The six functions were:  Strategy, Planning, Organizing, Leadership, Teamwork, and Control.

From these same functions and competencies, we then began codifying the Axioms within these successful companies that fell under the functions.  Our firm found that if you are familiar with, and practice these functions and axioms, the odds are that you will become a successful executive.

It is then that we identified a phenomenon: the more proficient a leader became in these functions, competencies, and axioms on the job, the higher executive position you usually achieved.  That’s why they became the benchmark of our management consulting practice, and the holy grail for successful CEOs.

We couldn’t guarantee success to anyone who mastered these functions and axioms, but we could verify that those who did became “leadership managers” and executives within their organizations.

We also recognized, and were told, that mastering these functions and axioms was “hard work,” and that these were the most difficult skills that an individual had to master.  Not everyone wanted to pay the price to become a leadership manager. They were hard skills, and only mastering them allowed an individual to use these hard skills to break through the glass ceiling.