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The Mentoring Difference

November 12, 2010
By: Kevin Spafford, Farm Journal Columnist


Recently, I had the privilege of visiting with Carl Larson of Nored, Inc., and LaMoure Equipment, Inc., and Gregg Halverson of Black Gold Farms, both of North Dakota. I was fascinated and humbled by the breadth and depth of their collective experience.

Both men are extremely successful

by any measure of business or professional accomplishment. The most telling feature of the foremost leaders in agriculture is a willingness to share, which is matched by a corresponding desire to learn.

The balance of using what you know and learning what you don’t can be

examined by looking at the difference

between management and leadership.

Management is a set of skills and

capabilities that can be learned from a book, taught by an instructor and experienced in group, team, business or community settings. Leadership, by comparison, is entirely different.

Leadership is an ability resulting from experience, desire, education, coaching and charisma. Books, teachers, experts and even great leaders have struggled with the concept of teaching leadership. Concepts can be taught, principles can be memorized and good practices utilized, yet without experience leadership is a theory. Like any other skill or ability, leadership is best learned as a combination of academic study, practical exercises, real-life experiences and coaching.

Both management and leadership are required to succeed in any undertaking:

nManagement is the environment. Leadership establishes the environment.

nManagement is about doing things right. Leadership is about doing the right things.

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