I am required to take eight different management classes during the course of my studies. Currently, I am taking the first. The most recent picture of my instructor looks like an apostle or kindly old grandpa. The portrait on the faculty wall is older. He is younger and looks like a deejay - kind of like Wolfman Jack - or perhaps it is just the psychedelic background that gives off that illusion. His voice doesn't carry like that of a D.J. He doesn't seem to have the same charisma as some of my other instructors. I've only been to one of his lectures. It was okay, but it wasn't the most interesting one I've attended. I just assumed it was the subject matter. I mean, Management103: management principles. Doesn't that title, all by itself, make you want to snore?
Last week he announced that we'd have a "special guest speaker" for this week, but what I think it was, really, is that he was unable to do his lecture for this week and gave us a link for another professor who teaches the same class. What a difference! I have nothing against my own professor, but the "guest speaker" who took over this week just held my interest more or explained things better or something (a D.J. personality, perhaps?). I'd like to attend his class again, but it is at the same time as my professor. So my plan right now is to give myself the opportunity to once again attend the live lecture conducted by my own professor. If that doesn't work to my advantage, however, I will spend the last week of the class attending the live lecture of the other instructor.
Management bores me. Business bores me. I have had some good managers. I have had managers who have been let go as they should never have been put in the management position in the first place. And I have managed others - perhaps not well, but no worse than any manager that I've ever had.
So in this lecture, the focus is on the four functions of management and the difference between a leader and a manager. The substitute instructor pointed out that perhaps the classes should be called Leadership classes instead of management classes. I don't know why that choice of words made such a difference for me, but I'd be willing to go along with it. I don't particularly enjoy the idea of having to take management classes, but I wouldn't mind taking some leadership classes.
I think that there are some individuals who seem to have a naturalness about them that make them great leaders. There's my son, Randy, for one. That kid's got a lot of talent and charisma. He takes like a duck to water with most things. He's been asked to step into management positions. He's a great leader. We can all become great leaders, but for some of us, it takes more time and effort to master the skill. In my last post, I mentioned Gary Kelly, CEO for Southwest Airlines.
What an awesome leader! It was never his intention to become a leader, or climb the ladder of success the way he did. I was just reading in USA today that his first ambition was to become an oceanographer. He had even become a certified scuba diver. He gave that up to play football. That didn't work out for him either. He was an accountant for Arthur Young & Co before becoming familiar with Southwest Airlines.
Through this assignment, I have achieved great respect for this awesome leader. If I am ever to fly again, I will do it Southwest if at all possible. They are the only airline that I know of that doesn't charge a fee for checked on luggage, at least the first two pieces. I'd actually like to work for Southwest airlines. Employees are treated even better than the customer. How many businesses can say that?
I may be a leader right now and not even know it. It's not a position that I intentionally desire, but I would rather be a leader than a manager.