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Leading as a Function of Management

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  • 0:05 Leading as a Function…
  • 1:07 Major McCarthy as a Leader
  • 2:46 Manager Mike as a Leader
  • 5:17 Leading: from Combat…
  • 8:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sherri Hartzell

Sherri has taught college business and communication courses. She also holds three degrees including communications, business, educational leadership/technology.

This lesson teaches you about leading as a function of management by examining the surprising similarities between two very different leadership scenarios: leadership at war and leadership in the workplace.

Leading as a Function of Management

War is a word that can elicit a variety of feelings based on an individual's knowledge, experience, and belief system. Indeed, how a person feels about war will vary greatly from someone who has experienced war firsthand or has lost a loved one to war to an individual who has only read about war in history books or watched news reports about war. Regardless of your position on war, a great deal can be learned by examining how wartime leadership can shape the war's outcome. Most of these principles can be applied to management, and though I doubt many of you would compare your organization to a warzone, you may, however, find a correlation between great leaders on the battlefield and great leaders in the corporate world. To illustrate this idea, this lesson will identify leadership as a function of management by comparing two leaders: Major McCarthy and Manager Mike.

Major McCarthy as a Leader

It is just after 4 a.m. when Major McCarthy and his five troops begin their descent over hostile territory. Rebels have invaded the city of Wannahockalugie and have devastated the town, killing many of the townspeople in the process. Major McCarthy's mission is to parachute in just outside city limits and retake the city. Unfortunately, McCarthy's five troops are fresh out of boot camp, and many of them are uneasy and nervous to even jump out of the plane, let alone to go into a warzone. McCarthy recognizes these fears in his group and knows that he must do something to change those concerns, so they don't have negative effects on the success of the mission.

McCarthy begins by telling his troops about his first mission as a recruit and how he too shared similar feelings of fear and nervousness; he assures his team that their feelings are quite normal. However, he also explains that those types of feelings must be buried deep inside them because those are the types of feelings that cause hesitation, and when someone hesitates, they could end up dead. McCarthy explains how each troop will be backed up by one another and how important communication between them will be in getting everyone out alive. McCarthy finishes his speech by sharing his track record of successful missions and the small amount of casualties that have occurred under his leadership. The troops are reassured, inspired, motivated, and aware of what they need to do once that back door opens and they jump out.

Manager Mike as a Leader

While Major McCarthy and his troops were jumping out of an airplane, Manager Mike was in New York tackling a leadership scenario of his own. Mike works at Bull's-Eye Mart, a large retail chain where he manages a team of six people. It's three weeks until Christmas and most of Mike's employees have already made plans for how they will spend the holiday with their families. Unfortunately, Manager Mike received an e-mail from his boss this morning informing Mike that vacation requests over the next four weeks will not be honored because of the increase in business they often see during the holiday season. Mike was tasked with delivering this information to his employees.

Delivering this information is not going to be easy for Mike because he values his employees and respects their need for a good life-work balance. He considers his employees friends, not just subordinates whom he manages. Mike knows that this news is not going to be well received by any of them and worries that some may even quit. Mike wants to talk to each of his employees individually, but he does not have the time and is concerned rumors may begin to circulate before he has the opportunity to speak with each individual.

Manager Mike calls an emergency meeting for all six of his employees. He begins the meeting by thanking his employees for all they do at Bull's-Eye Mart and informs them that he does have some unfortunate news to share. Mike tells his employees about the email and acknowledges that it will be an inconvenience for all of them to be away from their family during the holidays. He even vows to be right by their side during these days, so they can see that he understands and genuinely cares about the burden this has placed on his employees. He can immediately see the sadness come over the faces of his employees. Some of them even begin to cry. He encourages them to share some of their concerns. Mike tells his employees that over the days that they have to work, he will hold contests so that they can earn special prizes and will have meals catered each day. He will also award their vacation requests once the holidays are over and hold a special event for all of their families. He asked the employees to try to accept the situation for what it is and to spread positive messages between each other. Mike also lets his employees know that he is willing to talk to them and even their families if he needs to.

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