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Guest Commentary: Managers Take And Leaders Give

Giving credit has a huge inspiring effect. Employees emulate the best traits of a leader. Leadership is a deep commitment to loyalty – in good times and in bad times. Strong leaders have the courage to stand up for the dignity of all.

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John Passante is a broad-based senior executive with over 30 years of extensive organizational development and senior human resource experience with progressive corporations involved in multiple locations, both domestic and international.

The true sense of leadership and character is tested during times of challenge. In business, there is never a straight line to success. There are potholes, detours, delays, cancellations, failures and disappointments.

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Enlightened leaders are confident in their own skin and abilities. They learn from their mistakes and believe in their abilities. Leaders encourage others to learn from their mistakes. It is the beginning of growth. This sends a very strong message to the organization when the leader takes responsibility for his or her actions. They are then not playing the blame game!

In many high-octane cultures, there is someone always playing the blame game. Finger-pointing is quite easy. It can be easy to put the blame on the customer, suppliers, partners, employees, etc. Times of pressure, problems and failures are offer perfect time to look in the mirror. 

With leadership comes responsibility. True leaders pull the thumb before they point the finger. They view problems as an opportunity to learn. They attack issues and not people. They coach the subordinate in private to address the cause of the mistakes and offer advice and support, but publicly the leader takes the heat. 

When leading a team of employees, each employee is a reflection of the leader. The reality is that a highly motivated and inspired team will move mountains. They will go the extra mile, work hard and yes, make a few mistakes. A leader needs to have their backs.

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In Plutarch’s book “Lives,” it conveys the comforting message that leaders are the critical fulcrum upon which history is levered. Get the leader right and all else falls into place.

Oftentimes, failure is the result of poor leadership and the passing of blame to those beneath them on the organizational chart. Success is truly a collaborative effort. Leaders win wars. Managers fight battles. Managers tend to take all the credit, which often has an alleviating effect, while leaders look through a prism. Mistakes then become an opportunity to improve the organization. Managers instill fear in troubled times; leaders pull the team together and seek input to resolve the issue.

Giving credit has a huge inspiring effect. Employees emulate the best traits of a leader. Leadership is a deep commitment to loyalty – in good times and in bad times. Strong leaders have the courage to stand up for the dignity of all.

At times, we would like to hide out from what seems like a constant barrage of bad news. We can all learn a powerful coping lesson from America’s Best Neighbor, the late Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and his advice to look for helpers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Leaders are not afraid to help. 

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“Action is the foundational key to all success.”– Pablo Picasso

In business today, there is a shortage of sincere and deep regard for all relationships and faithful commitments as an unconditional gift. It is paramount that leaders display faith in people. Leaders need to believe that employees are trustworthy, intelligent and need to provide them with the tools (support) they need to succeed and do amazing things. 

Giving them support and having faith in them are indeed powerful tools. Creating an emotional connection also is important. Leaders must share their values and have integrity. This is the very core of influence. Living the values they profess to believe is what gives them their credibility and allows employees to place their trust in them. It also gives others encouragement and confidence to make choices on their own. When leaders create an emotional connection with employees, it gives them the space to perform, while knowing the leader expects the best from them. The employee thus knows they always have a supportive ear, and of course, a connection when needed.

To lead is to give of yourself. A giving leader lifts a person’s vision and self-esteem to a higher level. Going to a higher level of achievement opens the door for an employee to soar. 

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