Leadership and Level II Mentoring

By Scott Beauchamp DLA Land and Maritime Level II Mentoring Program

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Participation in the Level II Mentorship program provides an opportunity by which to guide our career advancement. As members of the program we should each ask ourselves what is the nature of advancement that we seek. Do we want to be managers, or do we want to be leaders? Often the terms management and leadership are used synonymously. Are they synonymous?

Management is an objective process that can be measured quantitatively. It consists of taskoriented maintenance functions such as planning, organizing, and controlling resources to achieve goals and objectives. A manager’s authority is derived from their assigned roles and responsibilities thereby giving them legitimate power by virtue of their position. This position power is applied toward enforcing compliance with policies and procedures.

However, for an organization to be truly successful there must be something more than the task-oriented mechanics of management. There must also be a relationship-oriented role; one that influences the attitudes and behaviors of members in order to motivate them toward the accomplishment of goals and objectives. This process that is in addition to the maintenance function of management is the essence of leadership.

If leadership’s influential role is additional to management then it must be a distinguishable process; one that requires distinct competencies. Interpersonal skill, emotional intelligence and communication competencies are what separate leaders from managers. Unlike the power that a manager possesses by virtue of their position, the power of a leader is earned by the trust and respect they have acquired through their credibility, integrity and problem solving skills. Earned power provides leaders the ability to influence, motivate and inspire consistent with the values of the organization’s culture. Earned power is perhaps the greatest distinction between leadership and management.

However, leaders must also be capable of generating solutions to problems. Leaders must possess both the analytical skills to solve problems, and the communication competencies to implement them. Effective leaders possess both taskoriented and relations-oriented skills and have the ability to competently balance the two in an appropriate combination for the situation.

Some leadership skills may be more innate to certain individuals than others. You may find that it is necessary to develop your skills in areas such as communications or decision making. Becoming a leader may require you to pursue higher skill levels through formal education or by participation in organizations like Toastmasters. Whatever your individual circumtance may be, actively seek to enhance your skills to become more than a manager, become a leader.