Leadership Concepts: Starting at the Beginning

Leadership Concepts

And Management Concepts Too

With this blog post, I want to go back to the roots of leadership (and management as well).  This reminds me a bit of Vince Lombardi giving his “this is a football” speech each training camp.  The fundamentals matter.  Defining the terms is critical so we are all operating on the same wave length.

Not all that long ago I had a conversation with someone where I mentioned that I am an introvert.  He thought I was speaking in a self-deprecating manner and tried to get me to stop speaking negatively about myself.  I assured him that the word did not carry a negative connotation with me.  In fact, I meant the word in its purest form: I draw my energy from being alone and pondering deep thoughts.  Being around lots of people (especially ones I don’t know) drains energy from me.   Extroverts are energized by being around people.  All that to say: I want everyone to understand what I mean when I use certain words.

Lead, Leader and Leadership

Before I go to dictionary.com or looking up the etymology online, I want to use some terms that come to mind (I often think in synonyms):

Lead – inspire, influence, encourage, motivate, drive, and push (often times toward a goal or desired effect).

By extension then a leader is one who inspires, etc. and leadership is the art of inspiring, etc.  (By the way art is definitely the appropriate word when explaining leadership.  It is a soft skill/people skill and there are no hard and fast rules for dealing with every situation.  Experience and learning from other leaders helps a lot, but it’s not math.)

Manage, Manager and Management

Manage – oversee, have responsibility over, run, operate efficiently

Right away my mind drifts to ideas like Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing where efforts are directed at stamping out inefficiencies and minimizing errors.  (This appeals to the left side of my brain for sure.  However, we are living in a post Industrial Revolution world where Henry Ford’s assembly lines and Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management are not exactly cutting edge any more.  The real value and challenge for the future lies in leading people.)

So let’s see how I did with my definitions according to dictionary.com:

Definition of Lead

 

Definition of Manage

 

Management and Leadership Concepts – Digging Deeper

Not bad.  My ideas of a leader go deeper still.  I incorporate words like love, care, affection, humanity, sympathy/empathy, generosity, sacrifice, service, and well-being (spiritually, emotionally, physically, and intellectually).  These words don’t necessarily roll over into the definition of a manager because I see a manager’s primary concern as being towards running a business (keeping costs low and profit margins high).

Not all managers are leaders and not all leaders are managers (I learned this in one of my undergrad classes – I wish I could find where).  The words are not interchangeable.  They are two different concepts.  The future, like I wrote earlier, is in developing, training, and becoming quality leaders in all types of fields.  However, if you find someone who does both well – that is a major win.

Thanks for tuning in!  I appreciate this audience deeply and look forward to serving you in any way.

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