In general, leadership consists of three different modes, which can be sectioned off as custodial, managerial and charismatic. These sections take their respective places in the process from exploration, growth, mastery and maturation. This process can be better viewed in the light of a three-step process from “Not knowing that you don’t know” to “Knowing that you don’t know” to “Knowing. Custodial leadership is more management at the ―knowing‖ phase and is more concerned about the daily functions of the organization, whereas Managerial leadership happens to a greater degree at the ―Knowing you don’t know‖ phase. Though concerned about the daily operations of the organization, it exists more in the realm of research and development, and planning function. This level of leadership is more about content and efficiency (doing things right). These first two stages of leadership always work within the confines of the context established more by the third mode of leadership, which I am calling Charismatic leadership. I believe that here we cross a line between the leader/manager and get into the core of true leadership.
True leadership is about the stage of “Not knowing that you don’t know”. In this stage the leadership must truly be innovative and a visionary. This is the stage that defines the context from which content flow. Context has no meaning yet it provides the ground from which content derives. Context creates reality and that reality is the content, most managers manage the content, whereas leaders manage the context. Context is about effectiveness, which can be defined as “Doing the right thing”.
Managers improve efficiency (doing things right) and Leaders improve effectiveness (doing the right thing).
There are four traits that I heartily agree with the researchers are noteworthy in leaders that allow leaders to pull as oppose to push people. The vision is brought forward by these traits and its (these traits) effect can be seen in the empowerment of people who follow the leader. The four traits that seem common to the third mode of leadership, that is Charismatic leadership, are:
The Management of Attention has to do with a person’s ability to enroll other people into their dreams to make them happen. Clearly when you are with these individuals you sense an extraordinary focus of commitment. They manage attention through a compelling vision that can bring people to a place they have not been before through any variety of means.
The Management of Meaning has to do with not just merely the communication of thought through explanation or clarification but the ability to give meaning to dreams and visions. Leaders are able to make visions and dreams tangible to the everyday worker. In this day and age of the super information highway and television, we are bombarded with so much information, deluged with so many facts; the manager of meaning is able to integrate the facts, concepts and anecdotes into real meaning for the masses. The ability to manage attention and meaning is something that comes from the whole of the person. You are able to sense that this person is a walking embodiment of the vision, not in mere theory but in practice.
Their Management of Trust is clearly a character issue. They are reliable and constant in their way of life and approach. People prefer to follow even when they disagree with these types because they do not flip flop. Their constancy and focus seem unmatched.
The Management of Self is critical. Without the management of self, leaders often do more harm than good. The researchers introduce me to a word, IATROGENIC, which is illness caused by doctors and hospitals. Some leaders make themselves sick, while other leaders are carriers; they make others in the organization unhealthy. Another interesting characteristic in the management of self was something the researcher labeled the “Wallenda Factor”. The Wallendas were a family of tightrope walkers and the ―Wallenda Factor exemplifies the effect of concentration of intentions. It was said the Papa Wallenda stated that to walk the tightrope was to live for him and ―everything else was just waiting to live. Shortly before Papa Wallenda fell to his death it was said by his wife and daughter that he began to think and talk about falling off the rope, it could be said that the concentration of his intentions changed, and the results soon did also. This illustrates a strong characteristic in Charismatic leaders in that, at their best, they are unacquainted with failure. They have the capacity to learn from their mistakes, what some of us would call failure they look at as simply the next step, failure is impossible and to worry is not a real option. Worrying is an obstacle to clear thinking, and they are already able to accept the possibility of being wrong.