Managing Change - Leadership V. Management

September 21, 2015

Managing Change - Leadership V. Management

I have just been reading Bob Hughes' article in BDJ in Practice, September 2015, entitled Balance Management Skills with Leadership and it got me to thinking about my previous life as a dental practice manager. The role is becoming increasingly more difficult and I feel for every PM who is wrestling with the recent enslaught of legislation and bureaucracy. Not only that, but implementing new policies, procedures and systems in order to meet the needs of the CQC, GDC and local teams involves change management. I know from experience that many PMs focus on the mechanics of change to ensure that their plan is being followed. However, the process involves far more than that. What happens when you face resistance from team members? How do you get them on side? How do you motivate your team to implement and embrace change? The answer to this is to inject a huge dose of leadership!

Is There a Difference Between Management and Leadership?

Leadership and management are two very different concepts but need to go hand in hand. John Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at Harvard University  states "Management is a set of processes that keep an organisation functioning. They make it work today – they make it hit this quarter's numbers. The processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan. Leadership is very different. "It is about aligning people to the vision, that means buy-in and communication, motivation and inspiration."

There is a huge amount of literature out there analysing the differences but the bottom line is that they overlap, they are complementary and are essentially linked. Change involves both management and leadership to be successful. In view of this, here are my 10 top tips for managing and leading change:-

  1. Administer and innovate.
  2. Maintain the good stuff but develop the better stuff.
  3. Focus not only on systems and processes but also on the people involved.
  4. Maintain a level of control but also delegate and trust your team.
  5. Look at short and long term goals.
  6. Don't just ask 'How' and 'When' but also ask 'What' and 'Why'.
  7. Watch the earth beneath your feet but keep your eye on the horizon too.
  8. Do the right thing but also do things right.
  9. Pick people up when they fail and direct them to success.
  10. Reflect on the journey, celebrate every success and reward accordingly.

Change management can be stressful but also exciting. If you want to learn more about implementing change successfully in your practice go to