Just Follow the Hot Air Balloon

Leadership vs Management

Management has to be accountable for performance.  Management exists for the sake of the institution’s results.  It has to start with the intended results and has to organize the resources of the institution to attain these results– Peter F. Druker

Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, persuade, and enable others to contribute toward a goal, while it falls to management to effectively and profitably engage an enterprise’s resources to accomplish the desired result.  Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers [who rely on a more tangible tool kit]. At the Advantage Co, I believe success is built on effective management. It is management that shoulders the weight of results. 

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Over the past 50+ years, I have read scores of books and countless articles from history’s leading experts expounding on their particular recipe for successful leadership.  From Sun Tzu to Aristotle to Caesar to Machiavelli to Peter Drucker to Doonesbury to Tony Robbins – I’ve inhaled it all thoughtfully, but they typically failed to resolve the undeniable fact that the truly informed, alert, and courageous refuse to be led.

Coercion [death, jail, the draft, etc.] and bribery [everyone has their price] work in the most primal of situations, but as the gravity of the situation subsides, these tried and true leadership tools give way to an insidious appeal to the cravings of vanity, power, fear, wealth, hunger, jealousy, hate, desire, prejudice, or social status of the most susceptible.  It never fails to humor me when I see what some fools will do to get a reservation at Momofuku Ko or into the right club/school/party/group/company/etc., but it unquestionably worries me when fear invites jealousy, hate, and prejudice to the leadership weaponry.  Unfortunately, ‘leaders’ today often resort to these sinister motivations … but history shows this is certainly nothing new.

Leadership is the ability to create an environment where people are motivated to give a 100% effort toward the desired result, while power is the ability to turn that intention into reality.  In that context, I’ve found that after 40 years in various successful [yet often contentious] leadership roles that it is more enjoyable and rewarding to build with partners who have their own courageous vision and sincerely want me to help them bring it to fruition.  For me, building is the challenge and the reward.  So, my advice to those that must lead is to simply find those that will truly find joy in helping you build and be generous in your appreciation … and leave the endless array of perfidious leadership tactics to the narcissists … but if you want to be successful – learn to manage effectively.

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