Friday, July 6, 2012

Powell ‘s Perspective on the Hot Topics

(Photo Source: The Grio)

Students of leadership continually debate the between leadership and management and whether leaders are born or made. Here is what Powell has to say:
Do I look for good managers or good leaders?
“Good managers are good leaders and good leaders are good managers. But great leaders have a special touch that separates them from managers. Good management gets 100 percent of a team’s designed capability. Great leaders seek a higher ground. They take their followers to 110, 120, 150 percent of what anyone thought was possible. Great leaders do not just motivate followers; they inspire them. The followers are turned on by their leaders.
Superior leaders also tend to be superior managers. They are rare gems. Always be looking for the potential to give you 150 percent.”
Born versus Made
Powell has this to say: “I believe that leaders must be born with a natural connection and affinity to others, which then must be encouraged and developed by parents and teachers and molded by training, experience, and mentoring. You can learn to be a better leader. And you can also waste your natural talents by ceasing to learn and grow.”  (excerpt from It Worked for Me).
Here is what Leading in the Wildland Fire Service (p. 60) says:
Our perspective is that leaders are made, not born.
The distribution of innate leadership traits in the wildland fire workforce is similar to the normal Bell
Curve distribution for any set of traits in any population. A small percentage of people are natural leaders, possessing the character and traits that compel others to follow them. Another small percentage have character flaws or issues that would prevent them from ever becoming effective leaders.
Most people—the vast majority—do not come to the job as natural leaders, yet they have the ability to become very effective leaders by working to develop their leadership skills.
The wildland fire service cannot be successful depending on that small percentage of natural leaders. As a result, we accept the responsibility of making ourselves the best leaders that we can be, continuously embracing opportunities to learn the art of leadership through formal training, field experience, and self-development. The best leaders are life-long students of leadership.
Additional Reference
Be sure to listen to Timothy Sendelbach’s interview, Company Officer Leadership Essentials, with Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief Mike Metro on the topic which can be found on the Firefighter Nation website.

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