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How Would You Rate This Woman’s Leadership Skills?


by Glenn Shepard
October 31, 2017
Category: Leadership


Silver Springs, MD

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An estimated 78% of professional football players are bankrupt or under financial stress within 2 years of retirement, and 60% percent of professional basketball players are broke within 5 years of retirement.
Source: Sports Illustrated



Evaluate Susan:

She’s been the GM of a printing plant in St. Louis for five years.

During that time, the plant has been extremely profitable.
Employee turnover has been nearly non-existent, and morale is extremely high.
The plant is running like a well-oiled machine, and has no major problems.

How would you rate her as a leader?

A. Good
B. Average
C. Poor

It’s a trick question. You can’t evaluate her leadership skills, because this description has nothing to do with her leadership.

It has to do with her management skills.

To be a true leader, you must lead people to do things they would not have done without your leadership.

If the printing plant was already running  smoothly before Susan arrived, her job was basically not to screw up what was already working.

If the plant had been losing money, couldn’t keep employees, and had all kinds of problems before she came, that'd be a different story. Taking a business from failing to succeeding requires strong management AND leadership skills. In this scenario, she would have changed a few (or a lot of) things to lead the plant to profitability and save everyone’s job.

It’s said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

This is why being an "Agent of Change" is one of the hallmarks of highly effective leaders.

Change is a way of life for them. They understand that in order to accomplish what hasn’t been accomplished before, you must do things that haven’t been done before.

Leaders don't let fear of failure hold them back from trying new things and taking risks.

Perhaps the greatest modern example of this was Steve Jobs.

He was not a very good manager, at least not in his younger years. Apple employees would avoid getting in the elevator with him, out of fear they’d be fired by the time they got out.

He was emotionally immature and impetuous, and not the kind of manager people want to work for.

But he was a very effective leader. Over and over again, he led people to do things no one thought was possible, like creating a device small enough to hold 1,000 songs in your pocket (iPods). Or getting people to pay for songs on iTunes when they were illegally downloading them for nothing on Napster.

Good managers are not always good leaders, and good leaders are not always good managers.

But the best managers are great managers, and great leaders.

To Your Success,

Glenn Shepard

 If you want to learn more about leadership, I highly recommend reading “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by Dr. John C. Maxwell.


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