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The Learning Leader has moved

Posted on May 11, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

To those of you who would like to continue following this blog, I have moved here and renamed to “Leadership 101”. I felt it was a better name, and that it would be better to move the blog sooner rather then later. Thanks to all those who have been reading so far, and I hope you continue to read and share on the new site.

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Manager or Leader?

Posted on April 27, 2007. Filed under: Interesting Links, Quotes, Uncategorized |

Ideally, it’s both. Reality proves this is not often the case. Leadership development has been all the rage since the first alpha Neanderthal got eaten and the rest of the clan had no one to turn to. People need leadership. They want to believe. But they can produce without good leadership if they respect their management. The bottom line is garnering the respect of your subordinates. Without it, your effectiveness is seriously undermined. But here’s where the difference between a manager and a leader resides. A leader recognizes that once they have your respect they’re just starting.

Earning respect will increase output, but how can we get higher output while maintaining or boosting morale? The answer is leadership. A leader demonstrates a willingness to hear ideas, to roll up his sleeves when necessary, and the fortitude to make correction when required. However, when leadership is in short supply, management can still get the job done.

In recent decades manager has evolved into the homely stepsister of leader. I personally don’t understand this phenomenon. People will still come to work every day even if they don’t have Vince Lombardi firing them up with the pre-game speech. Obligation and money are powerful motivators. The kids will still need braces and the house will still need a new roof long after Vince retires.

So why is leader the exalted one, when manager tends the shop? The truth is leadership is revered because it is an idea. Leadership can work in the abstract while management has to produce day in and day out. Leadership with no managerial skills can still steer the ship into the rocks. He’ll just look darn good doing it.

The gold standard is when both manager and leader coincide. That’s the guy we all clamor to work for. Who doesn’t want to work for a charismatic motivator that makes you feel like the company will collapse without your contribution?

So if the question is leader or manager? The answer is and always will be both through constant personal development. Washington and Lincoln didn’t reach greatness by being born. They learned it through constant and rigorous self improvement. Anything less and you’re not only shortchanging yourself, but those you manage, and the company that gave you the responsibility.

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”
Stephen R. Covey

Edit: I posted this article here on Helium.com, and it is currently ranked #2! Ok, it’s only out of 12, but everybody loves a good ego boost, right?

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Learning from others’ achievement

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Interesting Links, Uncategorized |

I found this site on yet another search for informationleadership in Google. The site is geared towards learning about people of noted achievement. There’s a little something for everyone. Interviewees come from several different professions and backgrounds. While it doesn’t give specific insight into people’s leadership styles, there is good content about what makes these particular achievers tick. Take a look, and let me know what you think.

Academy of Achievement

I read a few interviews and gleaned a little knowledge on leadership from Rudy Giuliani. I am also currently reading his book Leadership which I will be reviewing on this blog at a later date.

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Integrity: part 1

Posted on April 25, 2007. Filed under: Interesting Links, Quotes, Shared Experience, Uncategorized |

Integrity was described to me once as “always doing the right thing. Even when nobody’s watching.” My first experience with the word integrity came from reading the Charles Dickens classic “Great Expectations” in middle school. The protagonist (Pip) is characterized as having integrity. I had no idea what this word meant at the time. So, I looked it up, thought what a great concept it was and then never thought about it in depth until college.

Many would argue that it is still a simple concept, and it can be with much practice. Still, it is curious that so many people would devote so much time to studying this particular human trait if it were so simple. I believe that integrity is in such short supply that many in our society seek a way to cultivate it in themselves and others. Many think that they have or exhibit integrity, when they actually don’t. Not completely. They don’t commit heinous crimes or cheat or steel. But do they really have integrity? For some it’s a matter of ignorance, and for others a matter of self deception. For me it was a little of both until I reached my early 20’s. I realized that I wasn’t putting my best foot forward in every situation, and sought to change that.

This is where opportunity emerges in the debate. Opportunity comes in many forms. But for our purposes, let us suppose it is an easy way out. This could be anything: breaking promises, not returning money when you were given too much change, or knocking over a grocery display and quietly walking away. Obviously these could be considered small infractions, but do we really keep a running total? And if we did, how high would that tab be? Those are the questions I posed to myself a few years back and I decided my personal total was too high.

“A man should be upright, not be kept upright. ”
Marcus Aurelius

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Background

Posted on April 16, 2007. Filed under: Quotes, Uncategorized |

First, a little background info:

I graduated from college 2.5 years ago with a Mechanical Engineering degree. After a lengthy job search, I was hired as a project engineer. I was excited to get the job, but had a glaring problem. I had little managerial, and what I perceived to be NO true leadership experience. So it was back to school, so to speak.

In college, I started reading about leaders I admired as a hobby. After making the leap into a career with so much responsibility, I decided that this hobby would have to evolve into a bona fide study of leadership and its applicable techniques and theories.

My goals for this blog are simple. I intend to share with other developing leaders what I have learned in my short career, as well as learn from other budding and experienced leaders alike who might offer their own experiences up for public consumption.

In the spirit of community, I aim to make this blog as interactive as is possible. It is my hope that we can all gain some insight into what it means to be a leader and how we might each better achieve the level of leadership we seek.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny.”
-George Dana Boardman

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