24 January 2006

Leadership philosophy

I've been thinking about leadership often. . . for years, actually. Anyway, I see so many types of leadership similarly expressed in very different organizations. The military and academia are different worlds, but leadership & management is often the same. There is truly a difference between leadership and management.

Managers are people who are in positions of power. People do what they say because they wield authority. Sometimes managers are selfish. They don't want to see others succeed them in status, glory, opportunity, or talent. The difference is that leaders don't have to be in a position of power for people to follow them. Leaders raise up others to also be leaders. Leaders help others find their strengths and to improve their weaknesses. Leaders want to see others succeed in talent, opportunity, and status. Leaders see the big picture behind multiplying a vision by passing it along to other leaders. Leaders are not afraid of being outshone by their peers or prodigies. Leaders can be elected to positions of power, too, but not all managers are leaders.

Here's an example I found in a Hebrew poem:

"People curse the man who hoards grain,
but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell."
--Proverbs 11:26

Ultimately, a leader is strategically self-sacrificing enough so that the most people are served and benefit from his/her strengths. Managers tend to want to find as much personal gain and benefit as possible by sapping the strength and talents of those who work for him/her.

The moral of this blog: don't be a manager, be a leader!


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