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Leader vs Manager, Friend vs Foe, How are you Perceived?

By Kevin Dale posted 10-19-2022 15:17


Leadership can take many different forms and is portrayed differently by each individual. If you look at Leadership from a LIFO perspective, you will look at how you interact and work in each of the four quadrants (Supporting Giving, Conserving Holding, Adapting Dealing or Controlling Taking). You may also look at your Leadership Style through the eyes of John Maxwell as how you are fitting into the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Even though I have been through many different leadership trainings and academies over the last sixteen years in my role as a School Business Official, I have found that I don’t focus on just one. I have found that even though they are all dealing with Leadership, I take away parts of each training that fit into my current situation and allow me and my staff to grow.

I have a tendency to be more of a people-pleaser. This explains my LIFO and LPI scores, but for my leadership style, I am more of a servant leader. I have found that if I am willing to serve my employees, it shows more of my personal connection to each of them in that I am willing to do their job or a job below me, as some would interpret it. Taking the time to get to know your employees and show them they are valued and important can totally change the climate of your office.

“One thing that can make a huge difference with little cost and a considerable payback is connecting with your employees and letting them know that they are valued and doing good things for the organization/district.

Connecting with Your Employees

In today’s employment climate, we are finding it hard to hire and retain employees. The payback is huge as they feel valued and not concerned that they made a mistake when you approach their desk and want to talk with them. Even when they make a mistake, especially with a new employee, making them feel welcome and calm is important. Using that moment to TEACH them how to fix the issue can pay you huge dividends. HELP them make changes that will make their job easier without harsh words, condescending looks and angry body language. Sharing an experience that explains when you were in the same situation connects with that employee. It lets them know that we all make mistakes but that great employees learn and grow from those mistakes. It reassures them that they will not be judged unfairly because of one mistake.

Watching the Stress Level

I have found over the years, that when I am calm, it can help my employees remain calm and rational. Making them better problem solvers, thinkers, and all-round better employees. We all have busy lives, and some of our bosses can sometimes be pretty intense. How does that make you feel and how do you produce under those situations? As I have become more seasoned, I am finding that my stress level, even though high at times, can be more manageable when I remain calm, address the issue with a little more CLARITY, and then do the best I can to correct, solve or deal with the situation at hand. By using this example, I have found that some employees that I would not see eye to eye with and have totally different views on life and politics, have told me that I am a great boss to work for, because I act as a leader not a manager. They have stated that I care about them. That is HUGE in my eyes.
I challenge each of you as you approach your office every day to remember WHY you are where you are. HOW others interact with you and perceive you. WHAT can you do to make someone else’s day better, and WHO do you want to be known as when your name comes up around the office?

By Kevin Dale
Business Manager/CBSO
Rochelle School Districts 212 & 231

If you have a topic you would like to share on the Leadership Center Blog, please contact Russ Coomans at rcoomans@iasbo.org.