Dirigeants et gestionnaires

CAMBRIDGE – Pour la première fois depuis des décennies, un sénateur des Etats-Unis sera le prochain président américain : les candidats encore en lice – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama et John McCain – sont tous trois membres du Sénat. Si ces législateurs ont certainement des qualités de dirigeant, leurs compétences en tant que gestionnaires n’ont en général pas été testées. Ces sénateurs doivent gérer une équipe d’une centaine de personnes environ, et une équipe de campagne de plusieurs centaines. Mais sont-ils capables de gérer un exécutif qui emploie des millions de personnes ?

Les théories contemporaines sur le management tendent à distinguer les dirigeants des gestionnaires, en mettant davantage l’accent sur les premiers. Selon ces théories, les gestionnaires s’adaptent aux processus et recherchent la stabilité, tandis que les dirigeants acceptent le risque et savent innover. Toute organisation a besoin des deux, mais les dirigeants sont plus importants. Comme le dit un expert, une équipe de direction composée de bons gestionnaires, mais de dirigeants médiocres, ne parviendra à rien. Les dirigeants habiles mettent en place des équipes qui associent ces fonctions, en veillant à embaucher des subordonnés qui sachent compenser leurs défaillances en gestion.

Plus récemment, un regain d’intérêt est apparu pour le concept de dirigeants en tant que gestionnaires. Après tout, une vision sans application reste lettre morte. Les dirigeants doivent posséder suffisamment de compétences administratives pour s’assurer que les systèmes adoptés fournissent les informations nécessaires à une prise de décision adéquate et une mise en œuvre efficace. Un dirigeant capable gère et définit le contexte décisionnaire en créant et en assurant la pérennité de systèmes bien conçus.

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