Archive for April, 2011

If Leadership Requires Vision – Why Is It So Often Short Sighted?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Not all companies want their managers to be great leaders—it depends on the leadership of the company.

Truthfully, many companies would be more agreeable to producing better followers than better leaders for a myriad of reasons. It could be the small-mindedness of the people in the top-jobs who feel threatened when a subordinate outshines them — and, realistically, there is a startling lack of rewards for mentors involved with mentoring relationships.

There is the traditional (still vaunted) top-down/command and control model of leadership that all but insures rewards for being good “soldiers” vs. great thinkers/do’ers.  When an organization treats leadership as something that is exclusive and reserved for the elevated few, then it is forfeiting the engagement of the entirety (body – mind – spirit) of its members.

It seems that no matter how many times this is proven to be a competitive disadvantage, it is still vainly pursued as if it were a birthright. I shant be the one who would state that everyone has an interest in being a leader, nor will all volunteers become successful leaders, but to discourage interested parties within your walls, due to an out of date leadership model, lack of internal awareness/support or even beliefs in false methodology is stunningly shortsighted.

Once More Around the Leadagers’ Mulberry Bush

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Leadership is a term for a “role” that one seeks or is thrown into (or back-doors into), and is brought into play when one must influence/guide/impact others. Management refers to the “job” of having responsibility for bringing about specific outcomes or overseeing certain activities. You can be a leader without management responsibilities, which is called a figurehead. If you have no other person within your span of influence (let’s say you’re operating a street-cart) then you can manage things without being a leader.

If you have the job of “manager” which includes supervision of others, then you are expected to show some iota of leadership skills, as it will be “on you” to get the group to pull together (without breaking apart) and to accomplish the tasks set forth. There are many good managers who are bad leaders and many (short-lived) acceptable leaders who are bad managers.

It is important to make a distinction between the two for illustrative purposes and instruction. Even though common belief holds that they are conjoined twins, they are in fact dizygotic twins. The same mother, but difficult and different skill sets.

It does not matter if you are a leader who manages or a manager who leads. In the world of work, nobody will truly trust or willingly follow you until you prove that you know what you are talking about. The only real way out of this is by going through it. The often overlooked fact (by the uninitiated) is that on any job, you will have to create a “trading currency.” You will be tested to see what you can handle (by the principal player’s reckoning, not yours). This is also referred to as paying your dues, earning your stripes, or street cred.

The developmental benchmarks (or acumen) you should focus on are the equivalent of possessing a strong right and left arm, a quick left and right brain, and effective leadership (soft) and management (hard) skills. The more you utilize all of your resources, the easier it will be to respond to the inevitable forthcoming peaks and valleys.

Think of it this way: If you are in business with others, you are in hot pursuit of business coordination, a graceful exhibition of leadership and management (despite their differences) balancing in motion.

It is also best if you think of yourself as always being in motion toward desired outcomes. Advancing/upgrading your skills are directly linked to improvement of career traction – out of a ditch or over a mountain.

Here is the question – Are you relying strictly upon your job-granted positional authority to herd your fellows, or do you fly a flag that others wish to rally around?