Source | LinkedIn : By Rohan Rajiv
One of my recurring frustrations with books on leadership is that leaders are often made out to be superhuman. You have to be able to do this and that and then that as a leader. I think the issue with most of these books is that they study the best leaders of their age and try to combine all their best traits into one thesis on what makes a good leader.
I think that’s the wrong approach. There is no trait-based path toward leadership. We lead others the way we lead ourselves. And, the best way to lead ourselves is to be authentic – to be 100% ourselves.
So, one of my goals has been to understand what it is it leaders actually do. Over the years, I’ve been piecing this graphic together through books, blog posts, conversations with wiser folk and my own experiences applying what I’ve learnt. So, here goes.
We’ll be building to the full 1 pager step-by-step.
Leaders do 3 things – they lead, manage, and build culture. In simple words, these mean
1. Lead: “Doing the right thing” or effectiveness
2. Manage: “Doing things right” or efficiency
3. Culture: “This is what we do here”
The size of the boxes gives a rough illustration of the amount of time you spend on each of these 3. I estimate management to be 50% of the time with the rest split between leading and building culture.
To draw on the difference between leadership and management, I’d like to draw on a Stephen Covey story that distinguishes efficiency from effectiveness. Imagine a group of woodcutters getting ready to cut trees in a forest. The managers or efficiency leaders are those who walk behind the woodcutters and say – “Try a 45 degree angle. It’ll cut the tree faster.” Managers optimize.
The leaders are those who climb up the trees and say – “Guys, wrong jungle.” Leaders focus on whether our effort is effective.
Finally, the one central principle that ties leading, managing and building culture is “deep care.” As a leader, all the things you do will be null and void if you don’t care more than anyone else about leading. I’ve added my own interpretation to this idea – “doing small things with extraordinary love.” I have come to realize that leadership isn’t so much about the big things. It is all about the small things. Over time, the small things become the big things.