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What is Leadership

It has been said that good leadership is what happens when the leader is not there.

But I think good leadership is what happens when you are there. Good management is what happens when you are not there. Leaders must take the lead. They must be visible and audible. Upfront.

Example of a good leader

Take the example of the game of rugby. The captain of a rugby team can hardly be a good leader if he was sitting in the grandstand. He has to be on the field, rallying his team to put in more effort if they are losing, or inspiring them to play even harder when they are winning. A good leader has to be there.

The manager or coach must contribute his efforts and strategy during the team’s training in the days and weeks prior to the game. If he has done a good job, he can sit on the side-line, or even at home watching on TV, while the team applies the agreed and practiced game plan. A good manager does not have to be there.

Good leaders are doers

I have also heard that good leaders are doers, not talkers. Mmmmm. I’ve racked my brains to think of a great leader who succeeded by being silent. A hallmark of noteworthy historic and current leaders is their eloquence: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela. King George VI suffered from a stuttering speech impediment, so an enormous effort went into trying to overcome this problem (subject of a film The King’s Speech), because it was clear that a king who could not talk coherently, could not lead effectively.

Leaders inspire others to follow their lead by using their verbal skills. Managers get things done by organising and instructing people to do the work.

The Project Manager’s role

Project managers have to be both good leaders and managers. As leader, they must motivate the team to become committed to achieving the project objectives. As managers, they must, together with the project team, plan, organise and execute the work efficiently and effectively.

In conclusion, good leaders tell people to go to hell in such a nice way that they look forward to the journey. Good managers, organise things so well that they do, in fact, enjoy the journey!

Please respond with your views.

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