Resources - Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. -Henry Ford
A New Leaf

October 2013: In This Issue

Welcome to the October issue of A New Leaf! This edition continues our review of the importance of LEADERSHIP to your organization. Research confirms that the most important factor to employee performance and job satisfaction is an individual’s relationship with their boss. This translates to YOU being the single, biggest influence on your management team.

In your LEADERSHIP role, are you spending more time “leading” or “managing”? At what level are you in your personal LEADERSHIP development? The references below provide a framework to assist you in assessing these important leadership questions.
Best of luck as you begin your 2014 PLANNING knowing that an honest assessment of how you can become a better LEADER will be a critical part of that process.

- Mike

What Leaders Really DoFeature Article: "What Leaders Really Do"

What is the difference between leadership and management?

In this popular Harvard Business Review summary of his best selling book, leading researcher John Kotter differentiates the focus and activities of each of these important roles. Too often, leaders get caught spending their time “managing” vs. “leading”, ultimately creating a leadership void adversely impacting the organization. Understanding the differences in these roles is critical to YOU being the leader your organization needs you to be. 

Kotter defines management's role as “coping with COMPLEXITY. Its practices and procedures are largely the response to…the emergence of large organizations. Good management brings a degree of order and consistency to key dimensions like quality and profitability”.

He differentiates this with the role of leadership which is “coping with CHANGE. As the business world has become more competitive and volatile, doing what was done yesterday, or doing it 5% better, is no longer a formula for success”. If the leader is not dealing with change, it is likely no one is.

Kotter is quick to note that “strong leadership with weak management is not better, and is sometimes actually worse, than the reverse”.

He goes on to set forth the three critical activities of the two roles as (1) deciding what needs to be done (2) creating networks providing for things getting accomplished and (3) ensuring people actually do their job.  He then discusses at length the following differences in how they perform these activities:  

  1. Leaders “set a direction” while managers “plan and budget”
  2. Leaders “align people” while managers “organize and staff”
  3. Leaders “motivate” while managers “control and problem solve”

In reviewing the differences in the above activities, Kotter concludes that “well-led businesses tend to recognize and reward people who successfully develop (other) leaders”.  All leaders should challenge themselves as to what kind of direction they are setting, how they are aligning their team and what they are consciously doing to motivate their managers. If you are spending more time planning, organizing and problem solving, take a step back and ask yourself who is performing the key activities that only leaders can.  The success of your team depends upon it.


Credibility-How Leaders Gain and Lose it-Why People Demand ItBook Review: "The 5 Levels of Leadership"

What distinguishes one leader’s capabilities from another?

In his New York Times best seller, management expert John Maxwell answers this question as he sets forth a progressive model of leadership development. His book offers research based insights into the respective characteristics, upsides and downsides and other key aspects of operating at each of 5 developmental levels. 

The model is supplemented by ten important insights related to navigating between these levels. These insights, which have significant implications for all leaders, include:

  • The higher you go, the more time and commitment is required to win a level
  • Moving up levels occurs slowly, but going down can happen quickly
  • Not climbing the levels limits you and your people

Maxwell provides a leadership assessment for you to determine the level you are currently at in your leadership journey.  Building upon the results of this assessment, you are challenged to formulate your next steps to ascend to the next level….or two….as the success of your organization depends upon it.  

Maxwell’s 5 Levels of leadership are:

  • Level 1-Position-people follow you because they have to
  • Level 2-Permission-people follow you because they want to
  • Level 3-Production-people follow you because of what you have done for the organization
  • Level 4-People Development-people follow you because of what you have done for them
  • Level 5-Pinnacle-people follow you a because of who you are and what you represent 

Following are excerpts comparing Maxwell’s Leading by Position (Level 1) with being at the Pinnacle of Leadership (Level 5):

Leadership traditionally begins with Level 1-Position. An individual gets a job which includes a title or job description. Based upon this title, there may be direction reports.  Leading by position is the base foundation upon which all leadership must be built.  To be effective at this and subsequent levels, true leadership influence must be developed.

Upside of Leadership by Position:

  • Positions are given to people because they have leadership talent
  • A leadership position means authority is granted
  • A leadership position is an invitation to grow as a leader

Downside of Leadership by Position:

  • Leaders who rely on Position often devalue people
  • Positional leaders feed on politics
  • Positional leaders place rights over responsibilities
  • Positional leadership is often lonely
  • Leaders who remain positional get branded and stranded
  • Positional leaders received peoples least, not their best

Level 1 Leadership is granted, not earned. For leaders to grow in effectiveness, they must develop skills that will make followers out of their team based upon what they have done, not solely because of the position they hold.

This base level of leadership contrasts with Level 5 Pinnacle leaders who stand out from everyone else. They are a cut above the rest and bring success with them wherever they go. Unlike the levels before them, Level 5 leaders possess an influence that transcends the organization and the industry these leaders work within.

Upside of Pinnacle Leadership:

  • Pinnacle leadership creates an organization of leaders
  • Pinnacle leadership creates a legacy within the organization
  • Pinnacle leadership provides an extended platform for leading

Downside of Pinnacle leadership:

  • Being on the Pinnacle can make you think you’ve arrived
  • Being on the Pinnacle can lead you to believe your own press
  • Being on the Pinnacle can make you lose focus

Level 1 is but the first step in a lengthy and challenging journey to Level 5. You alone are responsible for taking the personal strides to ascend to higher levels in this journey. If you expect the most from your people, you need to expect the same from yourself. A careful reading of Maxwell’s 5 levels will clearly set forth for you what those expectations should be and what is necessary to become the leader your company truly needs you to be. 

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