On Leadership – Good Leaders are Good Teachers

A review of an article (for my Masters program back in 2008):

  • Vasilash, Gary S., “On Leadership”, Auto Field Guide. (2008), URL (cited on 2008.04.15) http://www.gardnerpublicationsinc.com

In this article the author, Vasilash states outright that the difference between managers and leaders are that managers are hired. Leaders are inspired. He sites Noel Tichy, who has recently written a new book called The Leadership Engine: How Winning Companies Build Leaders at Every Level, saying that “There is a multibillion-dollar consulting industry in the world today that thrives largely on the fact that most managers don’t want to lead.” With this point in mind, Vasilash states that leadership is for everyone, and anybody can become a leader.

Quoting Tichy throughout this article is often used and the definition of ‘leadership’ is from Tichy’s new book: “[Leadership] is the ability to accomplish things through other people that wouldn’t’ happen without you.” One of the important attributes of leadership is that the leader teaches others to become, in their own ways, leaders. In a sense, the legacy of a leader is that she or he leaves a stronger organization behind.

Vasilash also uses several examples of leadership in the article and explains how those particular individuals were leaders in their own right and created an environment of leadership for all others to follow. One example is William Cunningham, founder of Focus:Hope, a civil rights organization that has created in the inner city of Detroit a world-class manufacturing training institution, the Center for Advanced Technologies. Tichy writes of Cunningham, who died recently, “His boldness in setting enormously high goals and his ability then to energize people to reach them was so astounding that he will inspire and energize me – and hopefully you – for years into the future.”

Leaders, then, are people who have ideas that they can clearly and compellingly convey to other people, they have what Tichy calls “teachable points of view.”

Tichy and Vasilash both believe that the teaching organization is the one that will be the most successful. Therefore, leaders must be capable of teaching others what needs to be done. Likewise, what Vasilash has found is that companies with great leaders tend to perform better than companies with not many outstanding leaders.

Positions Pay. Possibilities reward

What individuals can do in an organization is ask themselves some tough questions about leadership. Some include: “Do you want to be a leader? Do you want to go through life feeling good about yourself because you’re adding value to the organization? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you have to start working on your values, on your strategies, on your teachable points of view.” As a leader, one will find themselves as the minority, as a transformational person. This leader will bring more value to the company and be more marketable when bumps in the company occur. Vasilash aptly says that “Leaders have possibilities. Manager have positions. Positions pay. Possibilities reward.”

2 Responses to “On Leadership – Good Leaders are Good Teachers”

  1. Karol McCloskey
    March 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Leaders are known. Believe me. Sr managers have their marks. You know you are *tagged* when you’ve got to deliver in an unbelievable timeframe and you don’t really really know your team. You deliver a vision, we WILL do….and there it is. It it all plays. The team delivers.

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