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Common Characteristics of Leadership and Management

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Posted 03 August 2012 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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Leaders and managers share some common characteristics

It is these characteristics that mark them out as leaders and managers.

Two of these distinguishing characteristics are:

1. The willingness to make plans
2. The willingness to put the plans into action

Using these two key attributes as the desired standard, we can identify four character types:

1) The person who does make plans and then puts the plans into action.
2) The person who does make plans but does NOT put them into action.
3) The person who acts but without proper planning.
4) The person who neither acts nor does he make plans.

Let us look at each one in turn

1. The person who does make plans and then puts the plans into action

This is the ideal type.

This person is using the principles that work.
Planning is essential because the human mind is limited and can only process information at a certain rate. If you exceed the computing power of your own brain, then you will make silly mistakes.

Planning is important because it allows you to mentally prepare the actions in advance of the event.

Planning reduces the amount of mental work you need to do in the actual performance.

That means you can concentrate on the real-time delivery of the product and service or performance and not waste limited mental energy making decisions that should have been made before the event

Action is important because a plan is merely a "guide to action".
A plan that is allied to action is a formidable combination.
A plan that is not tied to action is a waste of time.

2. The person who does make plans but does not put them into action

You may know a person who makes big plans but never puts them into action.

He talks a good job.
"All talk and no trousers!"

This is a common error

There is a another form of this error:

Paralysis by analysis

Paralysis by analysis is the error of being continually stuck in the "gathering information before i make a decision" phase.

Many academics and technical experts fall into the trap of endlessly gathering data.
They use analysis as a means of avoiding having to push the launch button.
They say to themselves and others, "We are not quite ready to make the decision.
We won't make the decision until we have ALL THE INFORMATION in relation to this situation.
"
That sounds good- but what is wrong with it?

Answer: You can never have all the information

Here is a sad truth

You must act in the face of Incomplete and Uncertain knowledge.
I.e. Omniscience is not the standard of human knowledge.
There comes a time to stop planning and start the action.

3. The person who acts but without proper planning

The man who acts without proper planning we call the Action Man
The Action man is a good man (or woman). But he is dangerous!
This is the type who starts building the flat pack kitchen, without looking at the instructions.
He claims his learning style is an activist and that he "learns by doing".
On his management training course he was told that was okay and that all learning styles are equal.
So he says "Forget the plans. I will improvise and learn as I go.
Pass the hammer
"
This man will never be a brain surgeon!

Can you imagine an Action man brain surgeon?
"Forget the x rays. Ill improvise and learn, as I go, from my mistakes. Pass the hammer!"
Would you like to be his first patient?
What would the Action man's success ratios be?
Action man is a nice guy; enthusiastic: but dangerous!

4. The person who neither acts nor does he make plans

This type is probably not in your place of work.
I hope.
This type has no goals and is lazy too.
This is the no hoper!
He blames others for his lack of progress.
He does not blame himself; he blames the government
He blames the company
He blames his family
But he does not make plans and he does not take any action to rectify his situation.

And this type is envious of his brothers and sisters who are doing better, primarily because they are making plans and following them up with consistent action.

Every day, make plans, take consistent action.

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