St. Charles Herald-Guide

SOLVE your own problems and leave GOVíT out of it

By C.B. Forgotston - January 5, 2007

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

My wish for Louisiana in 2007 is for its individual citizens to take action and stop waiting on government to solve our problems.

Leadership vs. Management

Since the manmade and natural disasters of 2005 hit our state, we have heard and read a lot about leadership and, more to the point, the lack thereof.

"Leadership" has been defined as "the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute to the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members."

I've concluded that a leader is not a position to which one is appointed or elected. It is not a position for which one can be hired.

Oftentimes those exercising leadership are not even conscious of it. It is simply a matter of addressing a need or problem.

Leadership requires no title. Leaders are not always popular. Popularity is for politicians.

Management involves power by position. Leadership involves power by influence.

It often said that management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right thing.

Leadership does not, initially, require followers. Followers evolve from leadership. One can be both a leader and a follower depending on the circumstances or on different projects. Leaders and followers are not an "either/or" situation.

The chronic and often fatal mistake that we make in Louisiana is in confusing government officials with "leaders."

Government is defined as: A small group of persons holding simultaneously the principal political executive offices of a nation or other political unit and being responsible for the direction and supervision of public affairs.

Those chosen for positions in government (whether appointed or elected) are not necessarily leaders. They are managers of some element of the public sector of society.

In rare situations, coincidental to their positions, government officials also exercise leadership. o take action.