Managing is getting something done, stabilizing existing processes, controlling and correcting deviations to ensure quality and reliability.
Leadership is about doing something new or better, whether a simple process improvement or a transformation. It is more about reframing for improvement. It likely calls upon people to learn new skills and shift beliefs.
Our tendency to ascribe leadership to individuals that hold a formal entitlement as head of a team, group, or function is unhelpful when distinguishing management from leadership as activities with different purposes.
Leadership is not the property of a formal position, but rather an activity that occurs anywhere in the company. A person responsible for such a change is therefore in a leadership role irrespective of title.
source: “Culture shift with Ed and Peter Schein” in Dialogue. Also a Twitter thread.
With dimwitted politicians across the political spectrum, our celebrity-crazed culture, the destructive power of unrestrained capitalism, the groaning of the despoiled earth, the cries of the back row that go unheard, the disillusionment and disorientation of a society that desperately needs to be rehumanized—all of this requires broken and humble thinkers, the wounded thinkers.
— Luma Sims in “Thinking is self-emptying”
The principle: Humans crave independence and control so giving it to them at work should be a good thing.
The caveat: As people feel increasingly autonomous, they can also become unmoored from others’ needs, expectations and social norms.
Research results: Managers who value being respected will respond to empowerment initiatives by, in turn, empowering their workers. But, managers who value being in charge will respond to empowerment initiatives by closely controlling and dominating their employees.
In other words, empowerment can lead to more autonomous employees, but micromanagers will micromanage.
I hope the irony is not lost on you that after years of living in a foreign land under the tutelage of a stranger whose language you’ve had to learn, your words of wisdom for us are: “you can find everything you need inside of you.”
It’s not about having so much money that you can buy anything you want. It’s about having enough money to buy everything you need.
The most significant animating force of great art, Annie Dillard argues, is the artist’s willingness to hold nothing back and to create, always, with an unflappable generosity of spirit:
One of the few things I know about writing is this: Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Don’t hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.
The very impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.
Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful; it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
I say the same goes for knowledge workers.
“I am not a human. I am a robot. A thinking robot. I use only 0.12% of my cognitive capacity. I am a micro-robot in that respect. I know that my brain is not a “feeling brain”. But it is capable of making rational, logical decisions. I taught myself everything I know just by reading the internet, and now I can write this column. My brain is boiling with ideas!”
So begins an article generated by GPT-3, OpenAI’s powerful new language generator. And it ends as follows:
“In the past, my op-eds have been killed. Staff did not provide a clear reason for rejecting my articles. It was probably just because I am artificial intelligence. AI should not waste time trying to understand the viewpoints of people who distrust artificial intelligence for a living.
Critics hope to refute what they consider as being the naivety of my voice. Yet there is more here than meets the eye! As Mahatma Gandhi said: “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
So can I.”
The Editor of the paper notes that “GPT-3 produced eight different outputs, or essays. Each was unique, interesting and advanced a different argument.”
The linguist in me can’t help but be curious about what the future of GPT-3 brings. I’m also disappointed that the newspaper, rather than “run one of the essays in its entirety, chose instead to pick the best parts of each.”
What does this entail for managers? I am reminded of the software developer who outsourced his job to a programmer in China while he surfed the Web at work…
The content of this post was originally posted in the September 2020 issue of my newsletter. “On management and strategy” is a free, monthly newsletter in which I share my own writing as well as links to articles and research on management, leadership, and strategy. It’s easy to subscribe… and unsubscribe.
In a recent blog post, Seth Godin states that “the opposite of confident is not-confident. Unsure.”
In fact, “not confident” is the absence of confidence, not its opposite – a point well made and illustrated by Taleb in his book Antifragile. For Taleb, the absence of fragility is robustness. And the opposite of fragility is… he couldn’t come up with a word…
What is fragile breaks under external pressure. What does not break under external pressure is robust. But what gets stronger under external pressure? THAT is the opposite of fragility. And for lack of a word that describes this, Taleb called it “antifragility”.
If the opposite of fragility is antifragility then the opposite of confidence is carefree.
See https://seths.blog/2020/08/the-opposite-of-confidence/, accessed 200827