Who Do You Follow?
Dec 04, 2012
From Legacy Moment (11/30/2012).
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To become a good leader, you must first become a good follower. Though my professional interests are unique, I follow several mentors who guide my actions, inspire my thoughts and fine-tune my character. With them I reach new heights and accomplish more; without them I will never reach my full potential. John Kotter, chief innovations officer at Kotter International and professor at Harvard Business School, is one of my mentors. Though we've never met personally, I allow his teachings on leadership to shape my methods.
On Nov. 19, in an interview on BBC World Service (from 7:24 to 13:06), John explained some of the subtle yet important differences between management and leadership. The conversation was based on the premise that what's needed is "less management and more leadership." Though the terms are often used interchangeably, John says, "They're different processes and they serve different functions."
Leadership, he says, is about:
• clarifying a vision.
• getting many people going in the same direction.
• motivating, inspiring and empowering them.
He further explains that we need leaders at every level in an organization and in every stage of the process. Leadership is not a hierarchical function; it's a professional responsibility for every participant in the organization.
Leaders communicate in a sincere and authentic way. They trust others to act accordingly and serve appropriately.
Kotter concludes by reaffirming that management is about control and leadership is about letting go.
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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.