Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, LEADING OTHERS, MANAGING YOURSELF


Author’s quotes:

“The problem with many organizations, and especially the ones that are failing, is that they tend to be overmanaged and underled.   They may excel in the ability to handle the daily routine, yet never question whether the routine should be done at all. There is a profound difference between management and leadership, and both are important. ‘To manage’ means ‘to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct.’  ‘Leading’ is ‘influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, opinion’  The distinction is crucial.  MANAGERS ARE PEOPLE WHO DO THINGS RIGHT, AND LEADERS ARE PEOPLE WHO DO THE RIGHT THING.  The difference may be summarized as activities of vision and judgment—-EFFECTIVENESS (leaders), versus activities of mastering routines—-EFFICIENCY (management).

Personal comments:

Clarifying/reinforcing the phrase, “Leaders are people who do the right thing”.

At breakfast the other day a group of high school classmates were discussing behaviors of previous bosses.  The focus of the conversation was their experiences with managers who really did not know what they, and other employees, did.  How could they lead or manage them if they did not possess a basic knowledge of the job, or instincts to learn, or an interest to find out?

The personal experiences reinforced in my mind that managers are neither effective nor efficient who lack knowledge of their employees’ jobs, their needs, and wants.  It takes leadership to do the right things, and knowing what their employees do is a great place to demonstrate it.  For leaders, who have managers with little understanding of what their employees do, add to their list of expectations (discussed in a previous post), the need to learn.

Next: Leaders

The Strategies For Taking Charge


Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, The Context Of Leadership


Authors quotes:

“(Refer to 10-14-15 post for the quotes leading up to this content)

All of which has created a managerial mayhem that can be more fully understood only if we examine the leadership environment of today.  That can be summarized under three major contexts: commitment, complexity, and credibility.


Public Agenda Forum undertook a  major survey of the American non-managerial workforce not long ago (done in the the mid-80’s), with the following disturbing results:

-Fewer than 1 out of every 4 jobholders say that they are currently working at full potential.

-The overwhelming majority, 75%, said that they could be significantly more effective than they presently are.

-Close to 6 out of 10 Americans on the job believe that the “do not work as hard as they used to.”

Even more troubling is the possibility that the tendency to withhold effort from the job may be increasing.  A University of Michigan survey shows the difference between paid hours and actual working hours grew by 10 percent during the seventies.

People talk about the decline of the work ethic.  They complain that enough scientists and engineers are not being trained.  But what there really is is a commitment gap.  Leaders have failed to instill vision, meaning and trust in there followers.  They have failed to empower them. Regardless of whether were looking at organizations, government agencies, institutions or small enterprises, the key and pivotal factor needed to enhance human resources is leadership.


This is an era marked with rapid and spastic change.  The problems of organizations are increasingly complex.  There are too many ironies, paradoxes, confusions, contradictions, contraries, and messes for any organization to understand and deal with.  One can pick up a paper any day of the week and find indications of this inordinate complexity.


Credibility is at a premium these days.  Leaders are being scrutinized as never before.  Fifty years ago this was not the case.  The public sector has grown more voracious and vociferous since the Depression.  Attention to welfare, social services, health, education and environment has spawned a morass of advocacy groups, government regulations, organized consumers and unions to whom the media is ever more responsive.  All are questioning and challenging authority, and powerful people must move with the caution of alley cats negotiating minefields.

Personal comments:

Unfortunately leadership has brought the scrutiny on themselves through inattention to employees, customers, short cuts, and poor service.  Number one cause?  Inattention to employees.  Too many times I witnessed the inability of management to understand employees’ needs, their contributions, and their sacrifices.  If you look back through old posts of mine you will see time and time again examples of this behavior.

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The Strategies For Taking Charge


Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, MISTAKING CHARGE


Authors quotes:

“This book was written in the belief that leadership is the pivotal force behind successful organizations and that to create vital and viable organizations, leadership is necessary to help organizations develop a new vision of what they can be, then mobilize the organization change toward the new vision.  The main stem-winder, in all cases, is the leadership.  The new leader, which is what this book is about, is one who commits people to action, who converts followers into leaders, and who may convert leaders into agents of change.  We refer to this as ‘transformative leadership’ and will return to this concept throughout.

Like love, leadership continued to  be something everyone knew existed but nobody could define.  Many other theories of leadership have come and gone.  Some looked at the leader.  Some looked at the situation.  None has stood the test of time.

Now, in a stasis uninterrupted by either Great Men or Big Bangs, we have a new opportunity to appraise our leaders and ponder the essence of power.

These days power is conspicuous in its absence.  Powerlessness in the face of crisis.  Powerlessness in the face of complexity.  With contradiction and polarization of thought and action, power has been sabotaged while a kind of plodding pandemonium surges.  Institutions have been rigid, slothful, or mercurial.  Supposed leaders seem ignorant and out of touch, insensitive and unresponsive.  Worst of all, solutions have been jerrybuilt or they have not been built at all.”

Personal comments:

The advantage of working in a forward-thinking human resource department is that it is easy to see how poorly companies are run.  It does require the right experiences, a large amount of inquisitiveness, a strong desire to seek and speak the truth, abundance of wisdom, and patience.  Behavior that is NOT helpful is the need to be in the spotlight, the need to take credit when right things happen, and the need to always be right.  Just a few to consider, but certainly not all of them. True leaders do not behave that way.

Bennis and Nanus have succinctly spelled out the crux of the problem in one sentence, “Supposed leaders seem ignorant and out of touch, insensitive and unresponsive.  Worst of all, solutions have been jerrybuilt or they have not been built at all.”  These two guys are speaking from the mid-80’s, and where has it gotten us?

I’m at the point where I don’t think the human condition is capable of understanding right leadership from wrong leadership!  Basically due to the lack of role models to help learn the traits of a Transformative Leader.

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The Strategies For Taking Charge

The Context Of Leadership

Wooden On Leadership, John Wooden’s 12 Lessons In Leadership, Pyramid of Success, continued


Pyramid, row five: Competitive Greatness

Author’s quotes:


Perform at your best when your best is required.  Your best is required each day.

Personal comments:

This seems to be a notion from the past.  Today, most people I see are not interested in being their best; more interested in cruising through life.  An old boss got upset when employees didn’t hustle along doing their daily work.  Today, living where I do, I see people walking by barely able to see any forward motion at all.  Not an especially valuable trait to be to be observed by our young people, our future (?).

Time to move on to another valuable book on leadership:

For my next series of posts I have chosen, “Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge”.  Copyright, 1985.  Author, Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus

From Wikipedia:

The Wall Street Journal named him (Warren Bennis) as one of the top ten most sought speakers on management in 1993; Forbes magazine referred to him as the “dean of leadership gurus” in 1996. The Financial Times referred to him in 2000 as “the professor who established leadership as a respectable academic field.” In August, 2007, Business Week ranked him as one of the top ten thought leaders in business.”[11] [12]

Quote from Leaders:

“Leadership” is a word on everyone’s lips.  The young attack it and the old grow wistful for it.  Parents have lost it, and the police seek it.  Experts claim it and artists spurn it, while scholars want it.  Philosophers reconcile it (as authority) with liberty and theologians demonstrate its compatibility with conscience.  If bureaucrats pretend they have it, politicians wish they did.  Everybody agrees that there is less of it than there used to be.”

Bennis and Nanus said there was, “less of it than there used to be”.  They would be profoundly disappointed by how far we have “slipped” from 1985.  Leadership is almost non-existent, in the true sense of the word.

“Leaders are like eagles; they don’t flock; you find them one at a time”

Next: Leaders

The Strategies For Taking Charge