The Fallacy of Great Business Leadership

The Fallacy of Being an Effective Leader
Many times when I am coaching professionals and business leaders on how to lead an organization, the topic of leadership arises.  It is extremely ironic that many folks who are in a position to lead mistakenly assume they are LEADING when in fact all they are really doing is MANAGING.  Great business leadership is NOT synonymous with managing.
There is a significant difference between being an effective leader and managing.
Management is detrimental to strong relationship-building.
Leadership is absolutely critical for organizations to succeed.  What’s the difference, you ask?
Plenty!  Here’s the clinical definition for both, as a means of highlighting the difference:
“Management” (from the Old French ménagement is defined as “the art of conducting, directing”.  Management’s derivation from Latin comes from the phrase manu agere which literally means “to lead by the hand”.)
Thus, management characterizes the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible.)
On the other hand, leaders all possess a VISION, build consensus, guide, and/or inspire others, are generally in a position or office of an authority figure, have an inherent ability to get people to follow them willingly and create Team-based “buy in” to what they are attempting to accomplish.
There are many different types of leader. Which one(s) describe YOU:

  • Autocrat: rule with an iron fist, don’t tolerate opposing views, demand complete allegiance, and never seek out consensus.


  • Bureaucratic: Extremely process-driven, adhere to guidelines, rules, policies and procedures.  Can only function optimally in stringent structured settings and shut down when confronted with ambiguous roles, undefined roles, and drastically changing market conditions and circumstances.


  • Charismatic: the epitomy of the charming manipulator, have very favorable perceived socialization skills, are convincing, influential.


  • Democratic/Participative: Function best in situations in which they can distribute decision-making, engage their Team to play active roles, and love empowering others.  May prove problematic when quick decision-making is required, but benefit from gaining the broadest input from their members.


  • Laissez-Faire/Delegative: Very “hands off.” Spend lots of time huddled away in their offices with closed doors, allow their direct reports to operate with free reign have little issue delegating but take little ownership for Team performance and typically are quick to place blame on others when problems arise.


  • People/Relations-Oriented: Outgoing, affable nature and figuratively feed off of interactions with others. Extrovert personality types, are at their best when they are practicing “leadership by walking around” and need to be in the trenches working side by side with their teammates.


  • Servant Leader: these leaders are slavishly focused on serving others. They put aside personal needs (and gain) for the greater good of their team, their organization, and society.  You find a hue preponderance of these servant leader types in public office, leading non-profits and working in government capacities.


  • Task Oriented: Strive for task completion, need a literal and figurative list of projects, have to have work flow documented, processed, and structured, and tend to think in linear “IF…THEN” scenarios.


  • Transactional: Prefer to maintain the status quo, enjoy established routine, predictable schedules and work are extremely attractive to these types.


  • Transformational: Subscribe to the notion of “If it ‘aint broke…break it.”   These are the quintessential leaders in that they exist and operate best when they feel they can change the world.

For a classic depiction of Transformational leaders, check out Apple’s classic ad:”Here’s to the cracy ones” –
The Ethical (4P) Model is instructive for defining leadership values
Under the ethical construct of leadership, effective leaders are concerned about the impact they have on the planet, are motivated by a very clear sense of purpose, are most engaged when they are workign with others, and operate with a strong sense of ethical construct (they have a deep moral compass that guides them effectively from wrong to right.
Great quotes that you can use, that get to the heart of what a leader is all about:

  • “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”  Sir Isaac Newton


  • They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you make them feel.”  Carol Buchner


  • “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  Thomas Edison


  • “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”  John C. Maxwell


  • “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”  Malcolm Forbes 


  • “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence.”  Unknown


  • “To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” Pearl S. Buck


  • “Outstanding leaders appeal to the hearts of their followers – not their minds.” Unknown


  • “Praise loudly, blame softly.” Catherine the Great


  • “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead


  • “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Napoleon Bonaparte


  • “The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone.  You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.” Elaine Agather


  • “Do you wish to rise?  Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” St. Augustine

Developing Great Decision-Making Skills is a significant precursor to becoming an effective leader.  Some guidelines on effective decision-making that you can (and should) work on:

      • Don’t make decisions that aren’t yours to make


      • Choose from alternatives, not “Right & Wrong”


      • Avoid snap decisions


      • Make decisions while you have time


      • Do your decision-making on paper

To become a great leader, begin with the basics of building a strong personal foundation:

  • Check Yourself…Who Are You?  Conduct personal exploration to understand your values, and what motivates you.  Remember…people have to WANT to follow you.


  • Possess Self Knowledge:Get to know your strengths & weaknesses by seeking out the opinions and criticisms others who know you well have about YOU.


  • Become a Role Model


  • Make Your Words Your Action: your actions should ALWAYS mirror your words.  In other words…”practice what you preach!”

Following is your Five Step Plan to become a truly effective leader.  Focus on these guidelines and you’ll be on your way:
Step #1: Plan. Have a blueprint for becoming a great business leader.
Step #2: Have A Vision. If you don’t know where you want to go, NO ONE will follow you (willingly.)
Step #3: Share Your Vision: Get those communication skills going!
Step #4: Takes Charge: Know the way…show the way…GO THE WAY!
Step #5: Inspire Through Example!
Okay, so you finally have people following you.  Now what do you do?

  • Serve People’s Needs


  • Listen HARD!


  • Keep Earning Their Trust


  • Pursue Change


  • Share Leadership


  • Build Teams


  • Leadership & Development

Finally, here are a bunch of GREAT resources you can begin using IMMEDIATELY to become an effective leader:










Let me know if you would like to discuss my training your management team on how to go from good to GREAT by becoming effective leaders others will follow.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Executive Coach, Management Consultant, Business Coach
No Organization is Too Small to Plan BIG.