Are you a Leader, Manager or Follower (at the right time)?

Author: Mohammed Nazari

Recently at a friend's house party I ran into this gentleman, let's call him Johnny. Johnny seemed to be pretty smart, however he kept changing jobs and did not last for more than a few months to a year in each one. When I asked him why, Johnny had an explanation for each one of them as to why the employer was doing things wrong which made it difficult for him to stay in that position.

One of Johnny's prior jobs was at the Canada Post. He said that in order to cut costs Canada Post changed some of the structure which caused job loss. Now one person would do the job that was done by six people. Johnny's statistic did not seem quite right however if Canada posts can be more efficient it's rather a good thing, even though it causes job loss. I said: ​​The idea is NOT to increase the number of jobs BUT to increase Productivity.  And it would be great if we could be more productive and work less.

I continued, if six people were hired for the same amount of work that could be done by one person, it would have one or more of the following consequences:
1. It would affect Canada Post's final revenue,
2. Canada Post would have no option but to pay less to each employee,
3. Canada post would have to increase the cost on the customer,
And the reality is that neither of the above three is as good as working more efficiently even it means job loss for some. Although this may sound terrible in a short run, In long run it works the best for everyone.

Interesting enough Johnny was a reasonable person and agreed with me.

After some conversation with Johnny I realized that most of Johnny's work dissatisfaction was due to the fact that he did not know how to be a Follower, and wanted to act as a leader while his job position required him to be a follower.

Although I encourage new ideas, one should avoid offering his/her ideas without having more in depth knowledge. That is why I recommend "ask questions more frequently than making comments". Please read my blog: What is the Penicillin for social diseases? "I don't know"

Leader: a leader is the person who leads, commands or sets the direction for others. This normally includes setting the guidelines and goals. This individual needs to have the most knowledge in what the "goal" is and "how to get there"

Manager: manager is the person who makes sure the set Guidelines are followed. This individual needs to know the Set of rules for the group he/she is managing.

Follower: is the main person who is doing the job, following the guidelines already set.

Any of the above positions have their own values and at different times we need to play different roles, to avoid chaos and dissatisfaction. A good example is the army.

In reality the best feedback comes from the end users (customers) and the followers who know the challenges and the downfalls of the Structure set by the leaders. But each one sees a smaller picture of the whole organization. In order to make an effective suggestion one should now the bigger picture. This is why as an organization become bigger, the feedback from the employees become less effective.

                           There is a time and place to act as a leader, manager or follower

Depending on the type of the position and situation in life we have to take different positions, at times to be a Leader, Manager or follower, regardless of our natural personality.

One of the main reasons for job dissatisfaction or daily arguments between individuals is when people follow their natural personality and take the wrong role of leader, manager or follower at the time.

A client of mine who is in management position at her work, came to see me for her ankle injury. Before I did my assessment she "Told" me that I should recommend her an ankle brace. After my assessment I explained that I do not recommend an ankle brace. However she kept insisting that she needs one. Although I tried to explain what my reasoning was, she went on buying an ankle brace for $35.00 on her own. After wearing the ankle brace for some time she realized that she never needed it and that she had wasted her money. That was when I explained: When you come to me as a client, you need to trust my professional opinion and "Follow"  my recommendations.  Interesting enough each time after treatment she noticed a good improvement and she was improving fairly good as the time went on but yet she had a hard time understanding that when she comes as a patient to me I am the leader and she should take the role of a follower.

Please note there is a difference between "Asking why" out of curiosity and "Telling and making comments" when having limited knowledge and taking the role of manager/leader at the wrong time.