Monday, July 16, 2018

To Lead or To Manage, That is the Question?

I would like to re-introduce John Baldoni to my blog. I met John on Twitter in 2009, and over the last nine years, I've gained incredible insights as a result of his Twitter feed, blog posts, e-newsletters, videos, and books. A review of one of his books appeared on my blog back in 2014, and you can read the review by clicking here. Recently, John and I had a conversation about leadership, and highlights follow below his bio.

John Baldoni is an internationally-recognized leadership educator and executive coach, and speaks throughout North America and Europe. He’s the author of more than a dozen books, including MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership, Lead with Purpose, Lead Your Boss, and The Leader’s Pocket Guide; and his 13 books have been translated into 10 languages. John writes regularly for and produces a video coaching series for SmartBrief. Visit and connect on Twitter @JohnBaldoni.

QUESTION: What are the key differences between the roles of management and leadership?
JOHN BALDONI: Check out the image for a useful visual explanation.

QUESTION: What is the most memorable thing you learned from a boss, and how has that lesson shaped your career?
JOHN BALDONI: The job is not finished until we do a debrief. This is the principle behind the After Action Review which our military has been practicing since the time of the Civil War. In fact, there is a library of sorts at the U.S. Army War College that is a collection of “lessons learned.” During a review, you will learn what you did right, what you did wrong, and what you can do better the next time.

QUESTION: One of my bosses told me that I should “lower my expectations” of the employees I supervised. How would you have responded to that directive?
JOHN BALDONI: Get a new boss. You get what you put into your leadership. Consider what you are working with. Focus on creating conditions for people to succeed. Set expectations. Provide resources and support. Challenge and coach. Those who respond will succeed; those who do not may not be right for your team.

QUESTION: How can leaders maintain a digital footprint (i.e., use social media) while simultaneously setting a positive example?
JOHN BALDONI: Technology is neutral. As the novelist Phillip K. Dick reminds us, it’s what people do with technology that can be nefarious. Visit your people face to face. Make them feel that you are interested in them. How? Listen, listen, listen. Some of the finest senior leaders I know visit people where they work, even when it means traveling. Know the kaizen principle of “gemba” — where the work is done.

Nothing makes an executive look smaller than using social media to air grievances, particularly ad hominem attacks. Not only do they make the executive look petty and weak, they tarnish the reputation of the organization from which they work. Be smart. Don’t use social media to gripe. Use it to converse.

QUESTION: What is your favorite leadership quote?
JOHN BALDONI: Here’s one from Abraham Lincoln: 

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live in it so that his place will be proud of him.”

My gratitude and appreciation to John for re-appearing on my Blog and sharing his timeless leadership insights!

Image Credit: John Baldoni.

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