Saturday, May 18, 2013

Leadership and Mangement -vs- Married with Children

I've often told others that being a good leader or manager is not much different than being a good spouse or parent.  Often those in a position of authority confuse their position power with leadership.  They believe that because they were put in their position, they can just order their subordinates about and they should just follow without questioning.  Well try that with your spouse or your children and see how far that gets you?  If you use fear and intimidation with your spouse your marriage probably won't last; if you use that with your children they'll grow to resent you and become alienated from you.  Let me give you some examples:

Bad leader/manager: "I'm the manager and in a position of authority around here, my subordinates should just do what I tell them without questioning or else heads are going to roll !@#$%!"  Bob you lazy !@#$%^& I thought I told you to have that update on the XYZ project on my desk this morning.  This worthless team is so far behind on the XYZ project; I'm going to fire every !@#$%^ one of them if they don't start making progress!  I think I'll give them all poor reviews this year and no one's getting a raise.  Lazy !@#$%^!  (Management by fear and intimidation)

Bad spouse/parent: "!@#$%^ Jane, I bust my a** all day at work and the least thing you could do is have !@#$% dinner ready when I get home!  Billy I thought I told you to mow the !@#$%^ lawn today; get your lazy a** out there right now and mow that !@#$%^ lawn!  Suzie I thought I told you to clean up around here !@#$%^&; you lazy good-for-nothing !@#$%^!  You're just like your good-for-nothing mother!" (Management by fear and intimidation)

Good Leader/Manager: "I'm so thankful to have a great team to work with; I hope they all had a good evening.  Traffic was a nightmare this morning.  I'm a little hungry, I forgot to eat breakfast.  Bob looks a bit distressed, and he didn't get that update to me this morning like I asked him to.  I should talk with him latter on after I've had a snack and some coffee.  Maybe he's having problems that I'm not aware of?  We're really running behind schedule on the XYZ project, I'll schedule a meeting with my team latter on in order to understand the problems they face.  Maybe the schedule was a bit too aggressive or maybe they're running into some other roadblocks that I can help remove. What can I do today to help my colleagues succeed?"  (Servant Leadership/Management)

Good Spouse/Parent: "I love my spouse and children; I'm so grateful to be able to work and provide for their needs.  Traffic was a nightmare today.  Man I'm so hungry, I didn't have time to eat lunch today.  Billy didn't mow the lawn again like I asked him to; I'll talk with him about it later on after I've had time to relax.  Maybe he has some problems at school.  Jane didn't cook dinner either and Suzie didn't clean up again.  Oh well, I'll just order out for some Chinese and over dinner we'll talk things over.  Maybe they're overwhelmed with problems at school or work.  What can I do today to help my family succeed?" (Servant Leadership/Management)

There are good leaders/managers and good spouses/parents just like there are bad leaders/managers and bad spouses/parents.  Who do you think is more effective in the long-run?  In the short-term using fear and intimidation will get you results, but in the long-run all it gets you is anger, resentment, lower productivity, and ultimately failure.  Treating your subordinates, colleagues, team-mates, spouses, and children with the love, respect, and understanding they deserve will get you admiration, loyalty, higher productivity, and ultimately success.  If you don't believe me, then pay attention to what happens to a dysfunctional/hostile working environment or a dysfunctional/hostile family.  The results are pretty much the same.

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