Great leaders are often thought of as history’s heroes and corporate commanders, but they can be seen in all areas of life. Without them, our society would fall to shambles for “the problems that require leadership are those that the experts cannot solve” (Manthey, 2004). I used to feel that leaders and managers were the same. However, I have learned that you can be a leader without being a manager, and vice versa. Acceptable leaders are a dime a dozen, but exceptional leaders are few and far between. Every individual at some period during his or her life will come across both ineffective and exceptional leaders, as well as a vast range between the two; the best of them drive others to become great in their own right.
To successfully inspire greatness in others, leader must discover the greatness within themselves. “Everyone comes with certain gifts—but not the same gifts.” (Dupree, 26) People can only perform on strengths, and should focus on improving them. It makes little sense to focus on improving areas of low competence, as the energy required would be far more useful elsewhere. (Drucker, 2005, p. 3-5) Only when this personal evaluation has been preformed can one begin to effectively lead others.
Great leaders recognize that all members of an organization are individuals with different needs, values, and desires. These emotional necessities are often at the core of conflict, as conflict arises when one person’s wants differ from another’s. Ineffective leaders simply impose their power in a conflict-type of situation, further aggravating the problem. This managerial method accomplishes nothing “You only succeed in stripping that person of self-dignity and making yourself an unwelcome part of any discussion,” (Carnegie, 2009, p. 124). The leaders of the past believed that they needed control to influence others. But true power comes from the understanding of relationships. (Sprenger, 2010, p. 139)
Charles M. Schwab, former president of United States Steel Company and protégé of Andrew Carnegie’s, was among the first individuals to obtain an annual salary in excess of one million dollars. Schwab openly admitted that he was not the most qualified man for his position, but Carnegie had great faith in Schwab. Carnegie did so because Schwab’s technique of handling people was utterly flawless and people responded beautifully to his leadership. (Carnegie, 2009, p. 25)
‘[…] The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement,’ [said Schwab]. ‘There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors....