Leaders Yes, Managers No.

I ignore people writing about, or yapping about leadership because my long-standing bias is that these TAG Body Spray-ed charlatans are fleecing $9.95 from hoofed ruminant suburban TV viewers for a CD full of snoring bromides.

At least with this blog post, you get what you pay for.

I agree with some-time circus clown Derek Sivers when he says

Leadership is over-glorified

I have long confused leadership and management.

I bristle at being managed. I can abide being managed by someone if they are mensa-scale smarter, or more experienced. But in collective modesty, our ability to figure out how to proceed is as Garrison Keillor would say, slightly above average. If all goes well, we can persuade everyone to work as a team of equals lending talents to the effort. I believe in self-organization. Other biological systems to it, why can’t humans?

Here’s the thing

Leadership is some nut inspiring me to do crazy shit. 

while

Management is a lamp shade blocking my light. 

If someone hasn’t done it already, let me say without equivocation command & control management is dead.

Management  & Leadership have never intersected on any Venn diagram universe I have known. One’s about control. The other is about inspiration. I don’t know about you, but I ain’t having the control shit.

Are most innovations born in environments of control or inspiration? Easy question.

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Derek Sivers’ Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy is an inspiring must-be-seen 3-minute video

Derek’s salient observation is that

The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.

This simple observation was a slap on the head from Captain Obvious. Sivers espouses the First Follower idea.

If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.

Sivers is also the first person to explain how cultural movements get started that made sense.

Coca-Coda

  • The leader embraces the First Follower as an equal. 
  • The First Follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.
  • The First Follower calls his friends to join then publicly shows everyone how to follow.
  • Being a First Follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. 
  • A few more followers joining the movement stokes momentum.
  • Sustainable movements eventually reach something akin to Gladwell’s Tipping Point.
  • As more people jump in, it’s no longer risky
Before you know it Bob’s your uncle – you’ve got a movement. We need leaders and we need early adopters bold enough to jump in even if it invites ridicule from peers. Today, a software generated experience might well be the wood pellets that stoke a movement somewhere, but it won’t happen without inspired people – crazy nuts and emboldened followers alike.

More


Read the full text of Derek Sivers’ TED talk in his blog post Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy.

Acknowledgments

  • Derek Sivers keeps saying stuff that makes sense to me.
  • Also, thank you Alan Cooper for the subtle coaching to replace management with command & control management – which is a concise way of saying what I meant.

4 thoughts on “Leaders Yes, Managers No.

  1. That is a great video, and an explanation of how a movement is started.

    I'm reminded of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant

    — snip —

    And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
    study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I'm
    singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
    situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
    situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into
    the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
    anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.”. And walk out. You know, if
    one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and
    they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
    they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.
    And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
    singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
    organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
    fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
    walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

    And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
    all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the
    guitar.

    Like

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