Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

“Leadership is action, not position.”

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I spent the first decade of my adult life in the US Navy. I went to interesting schools and had some unique experiences. During this time I was exposed to the concepts of leadership and management. But more than that, the Navy made a direct connection between the two concepts; leadership and management worked hand in hand to complete missions and maintaining preparedness. Every officer, commission and non-commissioned alike, was expected to lead AND manage. Because both leadership and management are skills they can be taught, honed, and mastered, the US Navy spent considerable resources teaching those skills.

The reason the US Navy taught both skills is that they have different characteristics and applications. One of the better articles on the subject can be found here, but I summarized the highlights below…

Leadership is:

  • Vision
  • Followers
  • Inspiring and Charismatic
  • Charting a Course
  • Empowerment
  • Focused on People

While Management is

  • Efficiency
  • Subordinates
  • Productive and Efficient
  • Following a Map
  • Control
  • Focused on Task

When I look at the differences, I can see why they taught both. What I see is synergy, and I’m not the only one. And when I look back at all those who I thought we good as a leader or manager, they always had both skills firmly tucked in there tool belt. When one dominates the other, the overall mission may become compromised.

After leaving the US Navy, I entered the corporate world where management was discussed ad nauseum, but I didn’t hear half as much about leadership….At least that was the impression I got. There was definitely leadership at the executive level, but I always felt that management predominated at the level I operating in. Is that a good thing? I think not. Leadership is strategy, management is tactics: To win in any struggle, both have to be properly employed.

What leadership and management traits are you exhibiting? Do you have a balance? Take this test and find out.