To lead or to drive

We’ve all seen the Instagram and Facebook pictures with the side-by-side designations of what a leader looks like vs what a boss looks like. One inspires fear, the other generates enthusiasm. One focuses on process while the other focuses on people. One places the blame for breakdown and then shames the “culprit” while the other fixes the breakdown.

A leader will develop people. A boss will use people. The antonyms go on and on. High turnover rate in industry can sometimes be attributed to the quality of people that are hired and sometimes it’s the lack of effective leadership to turn coal to diamonds.

It was a basketball coach who reminded us that his job was to not only locate the buried treasure on his player’s ocean floor, but to help bring that treasure to the surface. On their ocean bottom rested the next championship.

Ray Stedman is quoted as saying, “I have learned there is a great deal of difference between a Western sheepherder and an Eastern shepherd in the way they care for their flocks.”

A good illustration is also found in the classification of “shepherding.” They say that an eastern shepherd would lead his sheep. Tend to them. Care for them. Get them safely to the fold. One that was genuinely concerned with their welfare. A western shepherd, on the other hand would drive his sheep and rule them with fear and a rod. All he cared about was shearing the wool, driving them to their destination and collecting his money.

In this country and in this community if you are placed in a position of leadership, you have a choice to lead or to drive. One can create loyalty, the other can achieve short-term goals before they are driven to the point of extinction, exhaustion and humiliation.

You can be the smartest man or woman in the world, but if you do not know how to effectively communicate and treat those around you, there will be no long-term relationships created and you will constantly be training up new people.

In management, it is said that a fine line must be maintained between managers and employees. Best friends are better served outside the workplace. That being said, there are some traits that a leader, a coach, a teacher, a supervisor must maintain for maximum production and high morale in the workplace.

You don’t have to give up your high standards to be understanding. It doesn’t reflect on you poorly if one of your employees is learning to walk and stumbles, any more than blaming a parent whose child stumbles while learning to walk.

Great success is never measured at the expense of others. It’s in the inclusion of others.

Don’t abandon friendship. Don’t abandon compassion. Don’t abandon the employee that has made a mistake. Don’t discuss shortcomings with others. Don’t expect someone else to do what you are called to do. Care.

“A great leader possesses a clear vision, is courageous, has integrity, honesty, humility and clear focus. He or she is a strategic planner and believes in teamwork.” – Forbes.