The Elements of Leadership


– Is it as easy as one, two, three?

I have always contended leadership is an essential trait to become an effective manager. Whenever I mention this, many people disagree and claim it has nothing to with management whatsoever, which is perceived as nothing more than overseeing the activities of others. In this instance, I believe they are confusing supervision for management; the two are certainly not synonymous, yet I concede many of today’s managers tend to practice a Theory X form of micromanagement whereby the supervisor makes all of the decisions for the workers top-down. In contrast, I believe managers should manage more and supervise less, representing a bottom-up approach whereby employees are trained, delegated responsibility and allowed to conquer projects without someone breathing down their necks. From this perspective, management is substantially different than supervision.

From my experience, there are three essential elements for leadership:

* Must be able to read a map – meaning they have a sense of direction about them or what used to be called “vision.” Not only does the person know where to go, but how to get there. This usually means the person is better educated or is highly proficient in certain skills enabling the person to conquer problems.

* Confidence – whether it be true or fabricated (aka “bluff”), the person exudes self-confidence in how to succeed, thereby creating believers and followers. True confidence is preferred as opposed to fake which may lead people down the wrong path, thereby causing them to lose respect for the leader. Workers need to believe the manager knows the proper course of action for success.

* Strong interpersonal skills – to articulate objectives, review plans, delegate responsibility, and review progress. A good leader knows how to motivate workers, whether through communications or by example. Such skills requires some industrial psychology to properly motivate people. A sense of politics doesn’t hurt either.

Some of the best managers I’ve met over the years possessed these three basic elements. The good ones though are also not afraid to admit when they are unsure of themselves and smart enough to seek the counsel of others. Failure to do so has caused managers to go into a self-destruct mode.

Finally, let us be mindful that not to lead is to follow. Today, we are hearing a lot about “leading from behind,” not just in government, but in business as well. This is a disastrous trait in a manager. It means you are more willing to follow than to lead. If you are paid to lead, lead; if you are paid to follow, follow, but do not ever confuse the two.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant who writes commentaries about the times we live in be it in the corporate world, the Masonic world, or our personal lives. His writings are well known on the Internet and are humorous, educational, and at times controversial. You won’t always agree with him, but Tim will definitely get you thinking.

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