June 9, 2010

Who is really in charge?

I have never been a CEO of a company, or a top level manager. I have held low and mid-level management positions. I have supervised departments of three to eighty people. I have supervised salary and hourly workers. I have coached and managed and supervised.

One of the first basics of leadership I learned as far back as patrol leader of the Wolverine Patrol in Boy Scout Troop 338 was you have to give those around you clear objectives and the means to complete those tasks. Emotion plays no part in leadership. Like or dislike, political or moral differences have no role in performing the task, the work, the hike, life, or any other objective

There are books and seminars and classes to teach someone to manage and lead. The military has perfected the technics.

My leadership philosophy can be summed up neatly: We made a mistake -- you did a great job. Simply, when working for me, the task was not completed, the work was not done, it was because I failed to give you the direction, support, information, skills, or tools to complete the assignment. I failed you in leadership and management because I allowed you to fail. If the task was completed, then you did it.

This attitude has never failed me.

Politics aside. the President concerns me. It is becoming increasingly clear he lacks the leadership and managerial skill set to be President. He is not the first to be elected based on charm, or reputation, not on his leadership abilities. It may be acceptable, or even admirable as a community organiser to proclaim you are going down to City Hall to "kick some ass". That approach rarely works in a corporate environment. It may be effective organizing to appologize for actions you cannot control, but in the real world it only makes your adversaries and co-workers think you are weak.

I am not saying you have to be a self-righteous asshole, but finger-pointing and blamestorming are not effective leadership technics. We have all worked for that guy. Did you respect him? Was he a good boss/supervisor/leader? Say what you like about Pallin or McCain, again leaving politics aside, at least they have demonstrated leadership abilities. Running for election is in no way the same as running and air wing or a city or a State. On that there can be no argument.

President Obama to date has shown very little leadership. He cannot govern his emotions. He jumped the gun in the Harvard case, he has been "angry" at not only the Israelis but the officials at BP. He has stated he is in charge, but now wants to kick some ass. Part of the issue in the Gulf are that the problem is beyond fixing in a few days. The next problem is the very burden of the Federal Buaracracy. This stymied the efforts to recover from Katrina, and is an issue now.

Some in a position of power will accept responsibility. Other people want to point fingers and get all angry, like a four year old who does not get his way.

Which, I ask, is a real leader?

As a brief postscript, For those of you who would argue the point. Would your opinion of the President change if I told you, more than 50 days into the oil spill that President Obama has yet to have ameeting with the CEO of BP?


Greybeard said...

There are those, (and I'm afraid I'm beginning to lean in that direction), who think the intent here is to collapse the country from all fronts and start anew with a Socialist/Communist form of Government.
What we are doing with our economy is not only unsustainable, it is destructive. Some are predicting we'll be unable to pay the interest on our foreign debt as early as 18 months from now, and we're continuing down the road spending "tra-la-la" like we don't have a care in the world.
We're alienating our allies.
We're fomenting war in the middle East.
We're ignoring serious threats from Iran and Korea.
We're making it nearly impossible to start new businesses, small or large, with over-regulation.
Our Government has taken over much of the industry that drives our economy and is trying to take over even more with the new Healthcare bill.

If they were ACTIVELY TRYING to destroy the country from within, could they do a better job?

GUYK said...

You, my friend are a REAL leader. I spent most of my working life as a manager including the CEO of my own corporation...your ideas of leadership parallel mine.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Welcome aboard, Greybeard.
I learned my management techniques from my Dad, Boy Scouts and the military.
Supervisor, Plant Manager, Sergeant,
Team Chief, Patrol Leader.
A Light Bird once showed me leadership by placing his hand, holding his penknife in a urinal demonstrating how to clean it. Then I showed my guy the same way.
Blaming others only gets you stared at.

Greybeard said...

Thanks for the welcome, Ed.
I'll need your help here. I'm gettin' old, deaf, myopic, and dense at the same time my friend.
I sometimes have trouble gleaning what others are saying, and that's true of what you have written.
"Blaming others only gets you stared at."
My question was, "If they were actively TRYING to destroy our country, could they do a better job?"
The dense part of me needs a little help deciphering here.

mlah said...

I agree with you Greybeard. But also. With the huge payouts that are showing up as deficit spending, where is that money going? I mean, Bush was running what 800B a year in deficit? What new things are receiving that additional Trillion dollars in deficit spending? Where is it going?

And yeah. I asked myself a long time ago. Is Obama stupid? I don't believe he is. And if he is not stupid, then he too must see the cliff we are rapidly approaching.

And he's hitting the accelerator?

Purposeful destruction of the US economy.

Joe said...

I hope and pray that the man in charge is just incompetent. How is tha tfor crazy?

sadly, I think you guys are more accurate -- we are on a path with a purpose.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Graybeard: Sorry I'm late getting back to you.
In most environments, when your boss asks why it's going wrong (and you're in charge) and you blame others, that's not the proper response and he just stares at you.
Obama shows lack of leadership and management by blaming others
Sorry I was writing in shorthand, I realize it was a little disjointed.

BTW I'm still encouraged that spellcheck still rejects "Obama".

Galt-in-Da-Box said...

Obama's been off-track since ignoring the American people on the Big Insurance Inc. handout disguised as "health care reform". It's hard for a Donk to deal with the fact his bribes, payoffs and gimmes at other peoples' expense are not appreciated by those who have to pay for them...Especially when ABCNNBCBS and his fellow communists keep yelling about how it's "for the children/your own good" when it ain't.
Democrats do not like their "en-LIE-tened" comfortable academic delusions about how the world should be, challenged...anymore than a Fundamentalist does.

"God save U.S. from the do-gooders!"

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