Title: Leaders are far and few between.
We are in trouble. The more I look around, the more I conclude that we (as a Country, State, Town, School District, etc) are in trouble. Leaders are different from corporate managers, community organizers, social media community admins, etc. Some corporate managers can be leaders, but not all managers are leaders. Leadership also doesn’t mean that you always have employees to lead. You can lead a sports team, a scout troop, or even a flock of sheep. A leader can be a male, female, wolf, monkey, etc.
Some traits of a leader:
- Ability to coach
- Sharp analytic skills
- Social skills to communicate effectively
- Willingness to role their sleeves up and get their hands dirty
- Fight for a common cause
- Ability to compromise for a win/win solution
- They tell the truth and don’t bullshit with political jargon (I think this is one reason why people are so jaded about politicians).
- A genuine concern for the people (or animals).
- The list can go on.
There are a few ways to pick out a leader from the pack.
- Their employees refer to them by their name (and not by”my boss” or “my manager”).
- People “look up to” the person as a subject matter expert.
- People don’t move unless the leader takes charge. (I’ve seen this numerous times in soccer teams over the years and at work).
- The leader takes all options into consideration and says, “let’s do it, we’ll beg for forgiveness later”. Knowing that it was a logical decision, and “good” for the company. The make a damn decision!
- A leader will take the initiative and blaze new paths. Even if they are “outside the box”.
- A leader may say, “You know I’m not sure, but let’s see”. Honest.
Back to my opening sentence. We are lacking leadership at multiple levels. Either the leaders are sick of being shuttered, haven’t stepped forward, or are not being loud enough. Remember the loudest person in the room is NOT always the leader. That introvert at the end of the table, may actually be the leader of your group/team. Let’s stop the finger-pointing as a nation, community, etc and step up.
Thanks for you time!
I just spent some time reviewing my Leadership/Motivation Graduate School notes, and it was ironic that what I did 14 years ago still proved true today. Here’s a short snippet from a paper I wrote,
Professor J. Meindl Darren R. Weinstock
Managers and Leaders: Are They Different? September 11, 1999
My first reaction to this article was that managers and leaders are one in the same other than some differences in style and motivations. As I read on, I was able to segment the differences between managers and leaders. Leaders approach dilemmas in different ways than managers. Such as, leaders do not limit themselves in the number of choices they have to solve the problem. Which may cause a degree of chaos and rollercoaster-like affects in the business environment. Managers limit themselves, and act more conservatively. Furthermore, leaders take on the personal aspect of leading (an empathetic viewpoint), while the manager may take on the detached personality type.
I have recently been exposed to both a manager and a leader in the two internships I have done. Over the summer I worked with a publically owned company performing marketing research in a division. My superior was the manager type. He related to me as a means to an end, to accomplish the task of entering a new market. He worked for the “win” at any cost, and praise was far and few between. He was only concerned about getting the job done with the fewest resources. In another situation, he had to balance the opposing views of two sales representatives in establishing a new invoice system.
My other internship I was acquainted with a leader or visionary. He owns the business, which is virtual marketing organization. There are five full-time employees that perform and coordinate the business, while other activities are brokered out to artists and printers. My superior, the owner, is extremely concerned with any ideas that I have and conveys that I am a part of them. We have formed a one-to-one apprenticeship, which I feel has accelerated my development in marketing.
All in all, I feel that depending on the situation that the person is in will determine the style or persona that the person will take. The first internship superior did not own the company, but was responsible for managing a division. No personal interest was at stake (ownership), as did my second superior that owned the business. He was required almost by nature to take the leadership role in the organization. These two situations are similar, yet very different in the sense that leading and managing are different.