Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Real Difference Between Managing and Leading" {DesaraeV | Project Management | Agency Couture}

"There is a real difference between managing and leading. ... Managing winds up being the allocation of resources against tasks. Leadership focuses on people. My definition of a leader is someone who helps people succeed."
--Carol Bartz, Yahoo! CEO
 Learn to walk, then run. Learn to follow, then lead.
Are you a leader in your company, your household, a professional affiliation, the military or a team sport? Do you know how the military teaches individuals to be great team leaders? They start by teaching you to understand what it means to be a team, how to think outside of the box, and then instead of telling them how to be a leader they give them the opportunity to step forward. Setting up the simplest leadership exercise will immediately allow someone to step forward in situations they excel at, the task doesn't have to be extremely hard, just cooperative. 

In junior high, high school and college my parents pushed me to excel and to join things that would teach me leadership and how to humble myself. You can teach someone what color is, you show them. This started with 4H, lead to sports, girl scouts, FFA, pageants, volunteering opportunities, conferences and IAYI. Those programs are places built by people and in any situtaion with people you get out of a program what you put into it. 

Here is an example of a team building exercise:

Material Needed: Bandanas or cloth strips, other items as needed
Time Required: 15-30 minutes, depending on the goal and number of group members
Group Size: 2-15
  1. Purpose: Work as team to complete a common goal
  2. Arrange participants into a circle, facing each other. Ask them to hold out their arms.
  3. Tie the group together so that each person is tied to both neighbor's wrists.
  4. Now that the group is "all tied up", give them a task to do together.
Some ideas are:
  • Make root beer floats for everyone
  • Wrap packages with gift wrap, bows, and a card
  • Eat lunch
  • Make a snack
  • Create an art project
  • Pour a cup of water for each person in the group
  • Anything else that is fun and crazy
To make the task more difficult give the group a time limit.

Debrief Questions or Topics:
  1. Why were you successful (or unsuccessful) at completing the task?
  2. How did the time restrictions aid or hinder your group from completing the task?
  3. Did everyone in the group help to get the task done?
  4. What happened when someone didn't help?
  5. Do you ever feel like you are "tied up" with someone else when you are working with them and trying to get a job done? If so, why, and how do you deal with this feeling?
Jones, A. (1999). Team -Building Activities for Every Group. Richland, WA: Rec Room Publishing. P. 56-57. 

Failures and Learning to Improve.
I'm not perfect and didn't get strait A's, I was closer to B's most of my academic career but loved to learn and be hands on. Throughout my education I was horrible at tests, I would nearly freeze up when put on the spot, even though I could give you a 2 hour speech on just about any of those topics even in front of a class. The key, is to know what your handicap is. 

My handicap is that I get nervous, so not only would I study harder but I would let my teachers know how nervous I got. Get to know the people in charge of you and trust me they will be a lot kinder when you get closer to your pitfalls. My sorority would have a teacher appreciation dinner about three weeks into every semester and I would make a point to invite a teacher that I loved their class or one that I knew I would struggle in. I knew I would need to get to know these people. On day one, I would always go up and introduce myself at the end of class. You may call this a suck up or you can call it dedicated either way I got through 20+ credits a semester plus sports and other extracurricular activities for seven years. I'm still good friends with a couple of my teachers and respect them as mentors and leaders. Plus getting to know them also made them more apt to want me as their teacher's assistant later on.

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. "--Abraham Lincoln

I fail, I've told you that I fail, but that doesn't mean I'm excited about it. Visit any lecturer or event about social media and you will hear industry leaders tell you that they are expecting to fail. Yes, it is okay to plan to fail but plan ahead for those failures so that you can fix them or prevent them, not let them blow up. The best project managers will plan ahead for their client's needs, assess past requests and have a few answer ready and waiting for any questions. The person who brings a back up copy of their slide show to a presentation may be over prepared but then again who looks like a rockstar if the projector or presentation does fail? 

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." -- Albert Einstein

Perception means a lot in our society, whether you like it or not. Public relations, thinking outside the box, being the first and being original will all get you noticed. You can get noticed for bad PR, like Paris Hilton. You can also get noticed for good things like Mother Theresa. So if yesterday, today, or tomorrow are the first days people hear about you are you going to be remembered as infamous or famously? What if this blog post is the only post you ever read from me, will you remember it and think positively of me? If you are a chef and you cook a bad meal for someone on their first visit will they come back? Maybe, but only if your customer service is great, the ambiance is welcoming and the person has a reason to. If you're given that second chance, remember and don't take lightly that you probably wont get a third if you screw up. Not only will you not get a third chance, but word of mouth spreads like wild fire.

If you remember, a bunch of bloggers engaged in something called “Google bombing” a while back to get President George Bush’s website to rank #1 in Google for “miserable failure”. All they did was simply link to that page using the “miserable failure” keyword as the link text.-- (an SEO Blog)

Thanks for reading!

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