Sometimes we jump the gun. We try to lead people and our children when the people we are trying to lead or our children are badly managed. It’s really important to understand the difference between leadership and management and get both right. To know when to manage and to know when to lead and to know when not to manage it’s really important.
For the past 15 to 20 years we have emphasise the importance of leadership. We use words such as engagement and behavioural improvement performance, productivity and many more words to associate with good leadership but most of it is involved in good management.
Let me start with a very simple anecdote. Let’s just say I am coaching somebody and trying to help them get their self leadership in place. Self leadership, like real leadership is about the future. Leadership takes people or better put, leads people into the future. There are two aspects of this leadership and one is that the leader must know what the future looks like and secondly must be able to communicate that future in a language that allows the individual to connect that future to what they want in their life. This is the Innerwealth process, inspire the individual, balance the corporate vision, link the two. At the base of this process is what we called loyalty commitment and inspiration. It’s hard to build loyalty when a persons vision, individually, can be better satisfied in another place or under other circumstances. And when people get agitated and start wanting to leave the business or think that what’s going on in the business does not work for them it reveals one of two things. Either bad leadership, or bad management.
It’s easier to understand this when we talking about an individual rather than a business. The first step of self leadership is self-management. So let’s describe what self-management looks like. In the hierarchy of consciousness, the cone that you have seen so often, the bass is the God to and the summit is the love to. Between the bass and the summit there is should, need, want desire, choose, and love at the top. Many people want to jump to the top of the pyramid and dance. But if the foundation of that pyramid is built on quicksand, in other words the gutters are not being fulfilled, there is a guarantee that their mind will not be focused on the future but rather focused on cleaning up the mess they’re making along the way. This is called in simple language a lack of self-discipline. There are many words to use that replace this concept of self-discipline such as mental health problems, stress, anxiety but ultimately it’s a lack of self-discipline. All the eastern teaching such as meditation and yoga are teaching only one thing ultimately self-discipline. When you do a practice in the east, you are taught how to eat, how to breeze, how to stand how to move etc etc with the whole purpo to be self-discipline that allows an individual to build the pyramid. But just like yoga classes around the suburbs of your city there are a vast variation in teaching quality and many of the teachers, let me say the vast majority, have no idea about what they’re teaching and have no self disciplined themselves. I know this because I’ve owned three yoga schools and had to employ and unemployed many people who are considered to be highly qualified yoga teachers but are instead just gymnast.
We come to the base of everything as self-discipline. Self-discipline is a list of got to’s in your life that must be subscribed to and fulfilled regardless as to whether the sun rises in the east or the west.
But most people wake up in the morning and say how do I feel? The vast majority of people who want to be leaders wake up in the morning and say how do you feel what do we feel like for breakfast. This is the foundation of lack of self-discipline and it leads to terrible outcomes because how we feel is the single most unreliable thing on this planet. If the wind is blowing cold people feel claustrophobic and want to be warm if the rain is coming down they want to stay inside all because how they feel. And these feelings fluctuate with every single variable on earth such as how are your partners feeling how are you feeling how the food went down last night how much alcohol you had how successful you getting at work what the feedback is from the world and whether your back is in pain this week or not. Your feelings are the most unreliable source of life and yet if you go to Byron Bay it is the God of life. To fulfil any dream, any goal, any ambition and to be a leader of self or other one must underpinned this with sacrifice and self-discipline. If you do not have your got twos lined up, and they are your religion, you fluctuate like a leaf in the wind and when it comes to goalsetting you will be insecure and reluctant because you don’t have the discipline or don’t want to have the discipline to achieve anything other than how you feel in this moment in time.
Over the past 20 years you must come to realise that the masculine aspect of life has been condemned severely. In the quest for equality we have condemned the hard-nosed discipline that comes from the masculine aspect of living and endorsed a softer more feminine approach (please do not call his female) to life and living. I see people asking three-year-old child how do they feel and what did they want. I see people asking an eight-year-old child do they feel like something or do they feel like not something. This is incredible leadership but is that person who is being asked how they feel being well-managed. And if we are fraid of the masculine principles we cannot manage somebody because we can’t put boundaries and we can’t say that these are the foundations of freedom.
If I’m coaching somebody and they don’t have self-discipline and their private life is being run by the desires an appetite of their partner and they are trying to please people and they’re running around breaking promises and breaking schedules and I don’t have any control of their time in the likelihood of them having self leadership is zero. Then they go to work. And a person who can’t manage themselves at home can’t be lead at work. Now we get a person at work who we invite to be lead but can’t be. That person needs to be managed. And so everybody gets painted with a single brush which is two and get them in gauged we must satisfy their feelings. We drop into the lowest common denominator of human condition which is to try to make a person feel good instead of giving them good management.
If you eat your breakfast based on what you feel, if you eat your lunch based on what you feel, if you go to the gym when you feel like it, if you go for a walk in the park because it feels good, if you do the work you do at work because it feels right you are playing with the devil. Your feelings are so irresponsible and so vulnerable to the impact of even the moon it’s impossible to know who you really are and it’s also impossible to engage in a process to achieve any sort of goal or any sort of vision.
Bring this now to the workplace. You have a team working for you and you want to engage them because that’s how people measure your leadership. The only way to engage people is to make them feel good. And now you’re in the dilemma of wanting to lead people but being trapped in the realm of management. When the individual sees you managing them to feel good they can no longer respect your leadership. A person who is running around managing people and then flip the coin and the next minute is trying to lead them into the future with certainty and confidence will not be respected. This seems quite cold but it is a clear separation that we all need to embark on in our business and personal lives when do we lead people and when do we manage them. It’s the same with our children when do we leave them by our telling them why things are happening and when do we manage them by showing them how and not having a compromise.
I noticed with children that if you say to them you can have one more they will agree to the terms and conditions of having one more such as going to bed. But after they’ve had one more it seems to them that the terms and conditions are a variable. They appeal either through tears or through affection to make it to more. And the individual that they are appealing to, the parent, is questioned as to whether they are now leading the child or managing the child. If they gravitate towards the concept of leading the child, they will not be able to be disciplined themselves in the management of the system and they will soften and grab the child the second one of whatever. The child learns that their feelings can be used to manipulate other people’s feelings to try change and transform any situation to what they want. And the next thing you know you find the child growing up to be a young teenage having emotional crisis based on feelings that can’t be controlled. The child has been trained just like Pavlov’s Dog to validate their feelings because it gets them what they want. It’s understandable because we are in an era where the masculine principal has been condemned as being violent. But it’s not violent it’s the other half of the coin.
When there is an individual in a business who is not functioning well the responsibility is 100% the leader. If the leader turns around and becomes the solution to that functionality then the leader has become the manager. I’ve already mentioned above what happens when a leader becomes the manager they lose the respect of those they want to lead because they are spending time engaging in things that are management. But what’s not revealed in this conversation is that this individual who is not functioning is also not functioning outside of the business in a healthy way. Maybe, because everything is in balance, they are not getting everything they want at home and I’ve been bullied and I coming to work hoping that the workplace will give them everything that they want to feel. Treating people compartmentalised is the most dangerous thing of business can do and yet by law it’s necessary. Trying to educate people that they are holistic beings and that what they do on one side of the circle of the seven areas of life will be counterbalance by what they do on the other side of the circle on the seven areas of life. If they are passive in their relationship they will become aggressive in their work. If they are undisciplined in their health process they may become super regimented in their financial process. People love to be polarised in the got to emergency state of all or nothing. It feels very engaged when we are doing all or nothing. But that’s a different engagement that’s called infatuation and infatuation leads to resentment.
Me take you quickly now to the Himalayas where I’m walking with a group of people up a steep cliff and we are going to visit a summer. It is never a ropable climb as this is beyond the capability of most of the clients but sometimes there’s a bit of rock hopping and a little bit of clambering to get to the top. The higher we get the less oxygen there is and the more each step costs. As a leader I place one of my managers at the back of the group to make sure that there is no fallout from behind. And I stand in front. Sometimes we get to a narrow groove where we have to clamber a little more than others. I’ve already gone through this point but one of the team might stop and struggle. Now the question becomes what do I do?
Most people who call themselves leaders will go down and help that person through the groove. I don’t. I get one of my managers, Sherpa’s to help, or I give them instructions from my lofty position higher on a rock. I am in a safe place. Two people in a dangerous place don’t make one person safe. And sometimes it’s really hard because you care about the people you are leading and you want to go down and help them feel okay and get through the challenge and this is a really important metaphor. We have the same example here in Bondi Beach where we can see people drowning in the ocean when it’s really rough and the temptation is to jump in and swim out to them and rescue them. But even a qualified lifesaver will not do that. They will get some sort of life raft or some form of rescue craft because a drowning person will grab onto anything to stay afloat and if you are the thing they grab onto it’s more than likely you are going to be drowned as they survive. As a leader the temptation is to run into the water and rescue people out of the rip or out of the dangerous ocean but self preservation and good leadership one in the same thing.
You are tired at the end of the day, if you come home with less energy than you went to work within the morning then something is wrong. And very often what is wrong is that you are spending more of your day being a manager rescuing people then you are being a leader inspiring people. The process of being a leader includes some management, but the management can be delegated, management can be automated, management can be systematised, and management can be empowered into the individual so that they create a more balanced emotional state and therefore are not so vulnerable to this compensation between their Homelife and their work life being manipulated.
In nature everything is clear. And as much as I try to write these blogs every day to make things clear I admit that the clarity that I have from nature gets complicated in its communication to you. I can’t apologise for that because language fails. But if you go out into your garden right now and look at a tree you will start to see what I mean by the difference between management and leadership. If management are the roots of the tree those roots must be strong and healthy in order for the tree to grow. At the same time the leaf on the top of the tree must search for the sun and no matter what obstacles come its way it must continue that quest. Between the leaf on the top of the tree and the roots at the bottom there are branches some of which are too big some of which are too small, some of which are just right and so the leaf on the top of the tree does not benefit by going down and looking after the branches it does its work by reaching for the sun. The roots, management does its work by grounding things in reality and systems and process. And all of things between the roots and the top leaf on the tree called feelings. They are called your team and your team can either become self-serving which means the branch is the branch and thinks of nothing else or the branch can realise they belong to the leaf on the top and are served by the management on the bottom and start to integrate self leadership self-management into management and leadership. For me nature always distills all of this talk about human beings away from our expectations and our Memes into a very clear model of what it is.
That’s the end of this episode. If there’s anything in this episode that triggers for you please don’t hesitate to bring it up in our coaching session this week. Differentiating between management and leadership is the difference between highly paid and successful business life and lowly paid moderate comfortable business life. As long as you choose one of the other it doesn’t matter but if you choose highly paid leadership and behave like a manager, that is not going to end well and if you can’t have self leadership in your personal life based on good self management that is also not going to end well. And sometimes self-discipline is not necessarily what people around you want, especially kids.
With Spirit, Chris.