Discussion Post

Considering the art and science of leadership, how have the readings, lectures, and discussions in this course better prepared you for the role of a leader vs. a manager? 

Classmates, sorry for my late post this week, I was in Ireland all week.  It was a busy week, further complicated by the timezone delta and a seemingly endless flow of Guinness. I know, poor me. 🙂  Spent the week in Naas, Ireland working most of the time, but did have some time to hit the Punchestown festival and enjoy some horse racing and Guinness, lots of Guinness.  If you have never seen horse racing in Ireland, it’s very different than the flat track races we are used to in the United State.
Video (click on the video for sound):  https://photos.app.goo.gl/W94B8VQVQP7udXQCA
Photo of me trackside: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ogadFoFg6oM1WGDL8

What I learned is that I have a real interest in both the art and science of leadership. I was familiar with many of the concepts presented in the class, but the level of research which I had to undertake during the course certainly provided me with a deeper understanding of the science. The coursework and research even led me to do some leadership leisure reading. For instance, I read the book “Leadership is hell: How to manage well – and escape with your soul” which was referenced somewhere along the way in my research.  Not only did I enjoy the book, I felt like it helped me better understand a few people who I manage. In particular, this excerpt from the book shed light on a situation I have been dealing with for years.

“If you’re a people-pleaser, you’ll find it impossible to be content merely expressing yourself. You won’t even know what that looks like. You’ve been too busy sensing what would impress other people, then seeking to do that to the exclusion of everything else.” (Asghar, 2014, Kindle Locations 1430-1432)

I plan to leverage some of my new found knowledge to try to better coach the individuals who I believe are afflicted by the people-pleaser scenario above and my hope is that I will be able to help them elevate themselves.

I try to spend my life in a state of objective reality, rather than subjective reality. Not being subjective is something I have to consciously focus on because I am a passionate and committed person and I often expect others to see things my way, and when they don’t, I become very frustrated. I like to believe I have a vision, and that my execution strategy supports this vision. What I have learned about myself over the years is that I have a tendency to expect others to see my vision as clearly as I do, to execute with the same motivations and rigor that I do and this is often not the case. I have always believed that leadership is a way of life, it’s not something that you do from 9 to 5, leaders don’t get time off from the principles and actions that make them leaders. Leaders always “eat last” (Sinek, n.d.), there is no time when a leader can eat first. I enjoyed the topics which focused on job satisfaction, motivation, values and culture, other sections of the course were interesting, but I find these things intrinsically linked.

As a manager, I feel better armed to live my personal goal of objective reality. I have always been anti-negotiation, feeling that negotiation was always a short-term fix, there are still situations where I think this way, but I also recognize that negotiation can be a way to motivate, it’s doesn’t always have to threaten the culture. As a result of things I have learned in this class, I recognize how important fit is, I am more committed to the value of culture, and I realize that I need work on better understanding the motivations of other and increase my focus on communication because communication is what shapes the organization. I now realize that many of my frustrations probably come from a lack of communication, expectations I have which have not been communicated, motivations I possess which are driven by a vision, but I have not effectively communicated my vision to others yet place expectations on them. Improving communication is probably my biggest takeaway.


Asghar, R. (2014). Leadership is hell: How to manage well – and escape with your soul. Los Angeles, CA: Figueroa Press.

Sinek, S. (n.d.). Why good leaders make you feel safe. Retrieved April 27, 2018, from https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe