Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.
Building ExcellenceLeaders do not command excellence, they build excellence. Excellence is "being all you can be" within the bounds of doing what is right for your organization. To reach excellence you must first be a leader of good character. You must do everything you are supposed to do. An organizations will not achieve excellence by figuring out where it wants to go, then having leaders do whatever they have to in order to get the job done, and then hope their leaders acted with good character. This type of thinking is backwards. Pursuing excellence should not be confused with accomplishing a job or task. When you do planning, you do it by backwards planning. But you do not achieve excellence by backwards planning. Excellence starts with leaders of good and strong character who engage in the entire process of leadership. And the first process is being a person of honorable character.
said "Waste no time
arguing what a good man should be. Be one."
Character develops over time.
Many think that much of a person's character is formed early in life.
However, we do not know exactly how much or how early character develops.
But, it is safe to claim that character does not change quickly. A person's
observable behavior is an indication of her character. This behavior
can be strong or weak, good or bad. A person with strong character shows
drive, energy, determination, self-discipline, willpower, and nerve.
She sees what she wants and goes after it. She attracts followers. On
the other hand, a person with weak character shows none of these traits.
She does not know what she wants. Her traits are disorganized, she vacillates
and is inconsistent. She will attract no followers.
A strong person can be good or bad. A gang leader is an example of
a strong person with a bad character, while an outstanding community
leader is one with both strong and good characteristics. An organization
needs leaders with both strong and good characteristics, people who
will guide them to the future and show that they can be trusted.
A strong person can be good or bad. A gang leader is an example of a strong person with a bad character, while an outstanding community leader is one with both strong and good characteristics. An organization needs leaders with both strong and good characteristics, people who will guide them to the future and show that they can be trusted.
Courage, not complacency is our need today. Leadership not salesmanship. John F. Kennedy
To be an effective leader, your followers must have trust in you and they need to be sold on your vision. Korn-Ferry International, an executive search company, performed a survey on what organizations want from their leaders. The respondents said they wanted people who were both ethical and who convey a strong vision of the future. In any organization, a leader's actions set the pace. This behavior wins trust, loyalty, and ensures the organization's continued vitality. One of the ways to build trust is to display a good sense of character composed of beliefs, values, skills, and traits:
Beliefs are what we hold dear to us and are rooted deeply within us. They could be assumptions or convictions that you hold true regarding people, concepts, or things. They could be the beliefs about life, death, religion, what is good, what is bad, what is human nature, etc.
Values are attitudes about the worth of people, concepts, or things. For example, you might value a good car, home, friendship, personal comfort, or relatives. Values are important as they influence a person's behavior to weigh the importance of alternatives. For example, you might value friends more than privacy, while others might be the opposite.
Skills are the knowledge and abilities that a person gains throughout life. The ability to learn a new skill varies with each individual. Some skills come almost naturally, while others come only by complete devotion to study and practice.
Traits are distinguishing qualities or characteristics of a person, while character is the sum total of these traits. There are hundreds of personality traits, far too many to be discussed here. Instead, we will focus on a few that are crucial for a leader. The more of these you display as a leader, the more your followers will believe and trust in you.
Traits of a Good Leader
AttributesAttributes establish what leaders are, and every leader needs at least three of them:
Perspectives of Character and Traits
The American Army's Eleven Leadership Principles
Organizations consist of three components:
The American Army 23 Traits of Character
More Thoughts on Character
Are managers leaders? Are leaders managers?Managers need to be leaders...their workers need vision and guidance! On the other hand, leaders need to be good managers of the resources entrusted to them.
Is Character Developed Via Nature or Nurture?I do not believe that the nature vs. nurture debate is linear enough to put percentages on it -- on one side of the fence we have nature and on the other side we have nurture. And while nature (genes) certainly has its influences on us, the environment normally determines the impact of a gene.
For example, one of the classics examples for discussing genes is Konrad Lorenz's work on the imprinting that occurs in baby geese -- they have it within them to imprint whatever is moving near them, which is normally their mother. However, it could be anything else that is moving around them, such as a person. But no matter what they imprint on, rather it be their mother, a human, or an inanimate object, the piece of the environment that they actually imprint on is going to have a huge impact on their life. Thus gene provides the goal, but the environment provides the process, and it is what happens during the process that will determine the outcome.
Piaget was probably the first person to think of children as species equipped with a characteristic mind, rather than as apprentice adults (little adults). He discovered they went through a series of five developmental stages that were always in the same order, but not always at the same rate: 1) sensorimotor, 2) preoperational, 3) concrete operations, and in adolescence they have 3) abstract thought and finally 4) deductive reasoning.
Piaget's two contemporaries, Konrad Lorenz and B.F. Skinner took up extreme positions. Lorenz as a champion of nature and Skinner as a champion of nurture. Piaget, however, dived right down the middle of this debate. He believed a gene's meaning depends heavily on its context with the surrounding environment. That is, while a child goes through five stages of development (genes), it is the active engagement of the mind with the surrounding environment (nurture) that causes development. The two main forces of the environment are feedback and social interaction. From this, the child assimilates predicted experiences and accommodates it to unexpected experiences.
For some time it was believed that animals grew no new neurons in the cortex of their brains upon reaching adulthood, thus their fate was basically sealed by their generic nature. This was apparently proved by a Pasco Rakix, a neuroscientist. However, Fernando Nottebohm soon found that adult canaries made new neurons when they learn new songs. So Rakix replied that it was only adult mammals that could not grow neurons. But soon afterward, Elizabeth Gould found that rats grow new neurons. So Rakix replied primates could not. Gould next discovered that tree shrews grew new neurons. Rakix that higher primates could not grow new neurons. Gould then found them in marmosets. Rakix zeroed it down to old-world primates. Gould then discovered them in macaques.
Today it is almost certain that all primates, including humans, grow new neurons in response to new experiences, and loose neurons in response to neglect. Thus, with all the determinism built into the initial wiring of our brain, experience with our surrounding environment refines and in some cases rewires that initial wiring.
Nature may be our internal guide, but nurture is our explorer that has the final say in what we do.