Leadership In The Workplace
by Josh Saddler, ACDC Peer Advisor
"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent." – General Douglas MacArthur
Leadership is a characteristic that individuals must possess to some degree when applying for a position. Most companies are looking for individuals with leadership potential even if they are hiring for an entry-level position. But what is leadership? Is there a difference between a leader and a manager?
Managers tell, leaders sell. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States. There’s different approaches to getting others to do what you need from them. You can tell them what you need done and they will most likely do it. But, chances are, they are as motivated to perform the task as they could be. On the contrary, you could sell them the idea so they are able to see why something is being done or how it is working toward the end goal; no matter how small the task. They will be more invested in the end-goal.
Managers plan the details, leaders set the direction. “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – General George S. Patton, U.S. Army. How do you get somebody to do something? After you’ve sold the idea as to why something is being done, the next step is figuring out how to do it. Everyone has different experiences, backgrounds, etc. Because of this, all of the individuals you work with have their own unique set of skills and expertise. Rather than planning out all the little details as to how they can complete a task, tell them what you need done and let them come up with a plan on how to do it. As General Patton said, “they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
Managers minimize risks, leaders take risks. "Effective leaders are made, not born. They learn from trial and error, and from experience.” – General Colin Powell. Risks are viewed as a bad thing to managers. If you don’t ever risk anything, you will never lose anything. This is true, however, you will also never advance to the next level. If the reward outweighs the cost, what is stopping you? Your organization will not become the next big thing like Apple or Facebook without taking risks. As a leader, must be willing to take risks, however, you must also be prepared to deal with the consequences.
Managers instruct employees, leaders encourage employees. "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." – John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States. Leadership is more than guiding employees down the right path. A leader will continually motivate their employees where a manager will not. When it begins to get tough, or things start going in the wrongs direction, most managers will give up and say it’s not impossible. All it takes is the one leader to realign this compass and set things back in the right direction.