Leadership 101…

Leadership 101

“I start with the premise that the function of leaders is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” – Ralph Nader

I work for a medium sized, privately held company as a plant manager.  My main job is to make sure we do things the “right way” everyday.  However, I believe in my “job world,” the role I play is much bigger.  I believe my role is greater than that of just a manager to my associates.  I work with a number of young engineers and scientists – many that have never held a steady job or have been asked to make tough decisions about situations they have never faced.

This is where I step in.  I want my people to think of themselves as more than managers.  I want them to feel that their purpose is more than collecting a paycheck.  I want them to believe they can make an impact on someone each and everyday.  The tough part about this “grand” idea I have is the fact that I am working with scientists and engineers who are taught each and everyday to make decisions based solely on facts and data.  Many of them have never been asked to use their intuition or judgment to make decisions.  To me, this is what separates the leaders from the managers – using that intuition to make that tough call everyday.  This is what I try to teach others.  Am I always successful?  No!  But I will continue to try to impart my knowledge and experience on those around me.  This blog will be part of the process I use to reach these members of my team.

Based on my limited knowledge of Ralph Nader, I dare say he is somewhat unconventional in his beliefs and ideas, however the quote I have included with this blog says a great deal about his belief that it is the job of the leader to create more leaders.  Does this idea seem unconventional?  In our society today, I would say, yes.  As a society, we see more and more examples of people that only focus on themselves and protecting what is theirs.  I believe that in order to succeed you have to look beyond your own needs and focus on the good of the group.  To me, this is doing things the “right way.”

What do you think?