A little over a month ago I wrote a blog about leadership, referencing a Fast Company article that had some pretty good thoughts and ideas. There are many books and papers on this subject and they cover the topic from soup to nuts, so an academic look at leadership is easy to Google.
I have my own ideas about leadership, but based more on the “school of hard knocks” than academia. I see managers, especially those new to the role, make the same mistakes time and again … and yes, I count myself right in there having made my share of mistakes!
Following are a few of the very common mistakes:
– They want to remain “friends” with their people.
– They have trouble delegating, usually because they feel they can do it better themselves.
– They have a different set of rules for themselves.
– They try to “manage” by telling their people what to do.
– The tougher things get the more “hands on” the manager gets.
A leader is:
– someone who creates the right atmosphere for success;
– someone who instills confidence and rallies her people together;
– someone who will guide and set direction;
– someone who will provide support and a positive environment that rewards success;
– someone who resists the urge to “cream” people for their mistakes;
– someone who will resist the urge to roll up their sleeves and do it themselves;
– someone who will “be there” when needed;
– someone who displays the characteristics that they expect from their people;
– someone who through their example gains the respect and admiration of their team;
– someone who does not abuse their position of power.
Great leaders have great empathy for their people, and their people know that. However great leaders also keep enough distance in their relationship. Great leaders also have a strong moral compass and are governed by that!
A couple of Vince Lombardi quotes:
“The leader can never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert.”
“Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal”