There is a remarkable and brilliant line of difference between management and leadership.

Leaders lead based on a vision.  The leader doesn't look at the trees in the forest and say, “wrong trees.”  No, the leader climbs a tall tree, looks over the forest, and says, “We are in the wrong forest.  We must go that way to leave and move to the …” Leaders have a vision, figure out how to articulate the vision, and then lead people to follow them to the vision.

Managers may have a vision, but their vision is not their own.  Managers look at the trees in the forest, and upon hearing from the leader that the group is in the wrong forest, they start to think about what needs to happen to move the team in the direction the leader’s vision.  Managers count, measure, develop and execute process to move the organization in the direction of the leader’s vision.

Can a manager be a leader?  Yes, because anyone can be a leader.  Anybody can be a leader.

Can a leader be a manager?  Yes, but it has to be a special leader who is a good manager.  Good managers are hard to find because only a small part of the total population have the behavior skills to be a manager.  It is hard to be a manager. It requires skills that you can learn, but without the proper behavioral discipline, being a good manager is very difficult.
Leaders influence people.  Managers direct people, money and activity to get something done.

All organizations need both leaders and managers. Leaders help define the vision.  Managers, following the leader’s vision, direct the organization to create the leader’s vision.

The articles and stories in this section focus on the fundamentals of leadership.  Leadership is easy to learn but harder to demonstrate.  Often people naturally know these fundamentals, but not consciously.  We recognize leadership fundamentals unconsciously; we will follow these values and behaviors when we see them.  Natural leaders demonstrate these fundamentals in their normal behavior, and people will gravitate to the behavior. 

As you read these fundamentals, there are going to be points where you say to yourself “This is obvious, I know that!”  Good.  You can recognize the fundamental skill.  However, when you reach that point of recognition, ask yourself, “Am I practicing this skill?”  Recognition is not practice.
Leadership is a practice.  You must actively practice leadership skills with conscious intent.  It is through practice that the fundamental skills become behavioral habit.  It can take years to develop the leadership habit.  It can also take mere hours.  However, mastery requires practice, lots of practice.

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Articles in This Series

Articles in This Series

Simple Commitment

Desired outcomes do not happen without commitment. Ever.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elemental truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment that one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’ ”


Mistrust or Miss Trust?

Do you trust me?

If you don’t know, that is okay. Likely we have not met face to face, or even over the phone or on a social media channel like LinkedIn. You may know me from reading some of the articles I have written, or this could be your first exposure to me.

When do you start to trust somebody? Do you follow Ronald Regan’s “Trust, but verify” maxim, trusting someone when you first meet them, and then waiting for them to show their true colors? Do you mistrust from the start and make the other party prove themselves?


Logical or Illogical: Think or React

Tell me how you will measure me, and I will tell you how I will behave. If you use illogical measurements, don't complain about my illogical behavior.

Years ago, I learned from a good business leader that business is a game to be played, and to have fun playing. Then Payless Cashways CEO David Stanley told a group of managers “If you are not having fun, find something to do in business that is fun. This is a team sport, and you should have fun playing the game.” Some young managers did not understand, asking, “Isn’t business supposed to be serious?” A few of them cynically dismissed the remark. What ego.


The Management 5

There are only five activities that real managers engage in.

They Set Objectives.

They Constantly Motivate and Communicate.

They Plan and Organize Work, Resources and Assets.

They Develop resources—people, other organizations, and themselves.

They Measure what matters in order to understand and evaluate progress.

There is a reason this description is stacked like a pyramid. Or a triangle. Or a megaphone.

Management is Top-down and Bottom-up, Waves passing down and up.


Discipline is Not a Nasty Word

"Discipline is not a nasty word."

What does this mean to you?

From my point of view: This is a Pat Riley quote. I agree with Coach Riley, as do Coach Wooden, Coach K, Coach Dunge, and many more.“Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.”

What does this mean to you?



Failure; funny how people are afraid of it.

They will work and work to come up with the perfect idea, the perfect plan, the perfect design. And they will still fail.

A lack of failure is an indicator of a lack of effort. A lack of failure is an indicator of a lack of innovation. A lack of failure indicates a lack of commitment.

If you don’t want to fail, then don’t do anything. But if you don’t do anything, you fail.

As kids we are not afraid of failure. As kids we pretend, our imaginations go wild with ideas, and nothing can stop us. Then something strange happens to us as we grow up. As Rodger Hodgson’s "Logical Song" illustrates, we get sent away to be sensible, logical, cynical. We learn not to make mistakes, not to fail, not because it is the best way to learn, but because people could laugh at us.


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