Everyone seems to have had that one boss that was just outstanding. You know the one, they stood up for you, had great balance and maintained some level of common sense. Unfortunately, that characteristic seems to be as rare as a leprechaun and pot of gold. Everyone has also had that boss or supervisor that was just plain horrible. The difference between leadership and management is striking, and I am afraid we are losing our leaders.
To best understand leadership, I feel that it is important to break the word down. Leader defines the individual, an adjective. A person’s character, integrity, and values tend to be what constructs a leader.
Leadership is an act by that individual. The application of all of these traits constitutes leadership. There is a beginning of leadership, and two obvious things can happen. The person continues to be a leader throughout there life. The other is that the leadership ends. The ending of leadership can happen in so many ways:
- Through force
I think if a person is discussing leadership, we must focus on what leadership is not. Leadership is not:
- A title
- An event
- By default
Throughout my different occupations, I have had a variety of managers. Some managers were terrific, and others had absolutely no business being a position to make decisions for a collective group. The latter were often placed in these positions by attrition, seniority, and even corruption. I will refer to these mangers as “The Lost”.
I think The Lost is a good term simply because these individuals are placed with responsibilities that they are incapable of handling. Simple tasks where a person is told what to do by a senior official does not make them a leader of humans, it makes them a conduit of information. They may have experience in one or two important actions, but are completely incapable of leading a team, or even one person, to a sustainable outcome.
There will always be rules. If you work for the government, you will find that rules are plentiful and often changing. The ambiguity of some of the workplace rules make them ripe for interpretation. There in lies a huge problem. We are left to the interpretation of the rules by under qualified, overwhelmed manager who likely is not going to give full credit to a particular situation. The ambiguity of these rules also make them ripe for fraud. One rule seemingly may not apply to certain individuals and before anyone can say lawsuit, morale, upward mobility, and trust is eliminated by the masses.
Leaders may be called upon to discipline subordinates, which is perfectly acceptable however; there needs to be a beginning, middle, and end to discipline. In the end, what is the ultimate goal of discipline? Why take the time an effort to discipline if the ultimate goal is not rehabilitation. If I am a company owner with employees, fairness, equal justice, and remedy are the virtues that will make the employee not only rehabilitate, but also bring respect to the workplace.
I could call myself a doctor but I assure you that you would not want me to provide you any medical advice. A person can become a lawful ordained minister online in a matter of minutes.
Far too often we promote those who are motivated by the wrong reasons. A title is nothing more that a cloak that ultimately offers no protection for the individual or for whom they are responsible. The title given to an individual is nothing more than mere words if they are failing to truly manage themselves or anyone around them.
I have had managers that have had very limited experience come in and try to do what they believed was the right thing, which was the worst thing. The decades of experience they had to draw from was pushed by the wayside, immediately causing distrust, lack of any respect, and ultimately destroyed the morale of the entire group. This manager hid behind the cape of manager until their own people essentially rebelled, removing the security blanket the title brought the manager. It’s a slippery slope, and this manger was sliding fast.
Events happen in the workplace. A bad senior manager that may be paranoid about losing control will sometimes stack the deck with subordinate managers simply to do their bidding. Now two non-leaders are in the management cycle, playing off each other like a late night argument between spouses.
Not selecting the most experienced or best candidate for the job is cancer. There is no cure for it except to remove one, if not both before the whole system falls apart. This happens over and over again. There is not necessarily one reason this happens. A combination of Equal Opportunity Laws (EEO), politics, self interest, and corruption, these incapable managers are selected and simply nod yes to everything that comes across their desk. There is no thought, confrontation, or decision making needed to be in this management situation and it happens in every sector of the workplace.
If you ever wonder why certain people have skills to make a career out of politics this make not surprise you. Under table deals, agreements, understandings between corporations and the candidate can be a few reasons. Another less thought of, but obvious reason is because there isn’t a quality candidate running against them, or no one running at all.
This is not the end of this conversation, and definitely worth exploring further. Stay tuned!