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?


5 comments on “Leadership 101…

  1. Gerry Feaster says:

    Unconventional? Yes, But a great idea, the problem sometimes is that once you let them lead to early or make decisions based on facts and data, is that they don’t listen to ideas from someone that they feel is underneath them “SO TO SPEAK” Or someone they feel they are smarter than, How do you change that mind set? A good leader listens to everyones ideas good or bad. “You are a good leader Delton and a great guy you have earn alot of peoples respect” keep up the good work..

    • Delton Vereen says:

      Thank you, Gerry! Your comments mean a great deal and are greatly appreciated. The key point you make in your comment centers around taking the time to listen to others. Being a good listener is something that doesn’t come easily for some people. It’s a skill that’s acquired over time. Thanks again.

  2. Drew Ward says:

    Good stuff, Delton. Finance people are the same…lots of “black and white,” little comfort in gray or shades of gray. For the past six years, every six months I get a brand new off-campus intern. A key part of their development is to let them “screw-up” safely and give them insights into that gray world after they give it a try. Drew

    • Delton Vereen says:

      Drew, thanks for the feedback. We often do the same thing with new engineers/chemists when they start at the plant. The important part is the follow-up. If that communication doesn’t take place, then the associate doesn’t learn. I plan to put together a post on this topic later on.

  3. Stacey Phillips says:

    I think one important leadership quality to successfully accomplish doing things “the right way” is to always treat others with the same level of courtesy and respect that you would want to receive. To me this concept seems to be missing frequently in management. Our engineers and scientists are taught to make decisions based on facts and data, and it is often seen as a weakness to ask others for input. We, as good leaders, must realize that we are not necessairly the experts on every topic and that we have a vast number of excellent and highly qualifed team members that have great ideas! By empowering and involving others, you get the best solutions and you build teamwork, respect, and buy-in.

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