What is the difference between a leader and a manager?
We talk a lot about managing employees, but no amount of management will direct employees who don’t know what they are supposed to be doing.
Simon Sinek on TED.com talks about the golden circles of leadership. What we do is easy. How we do it is more difficult. Why we do it is the most important thing we can verbalize as leaders, and the one that is neglected most often.
In the Star Trek television shows and films, Mr. Spock is indisputably smarter than James T. Kirk. He is stronger (remember the Vulcan shoulder grip?). And he is far, far more logical. Spock constantly reminds Kirk that the probability of success for Kirk’s latest plan is very low. Yet Kirk is the captain, and his plans somehow work. When they fail, he just comes up with another plan (usually one with an even lower probability of success).
Kirk is focused on the objective. Spock is focused on the road to the objective. Kirk is concerned with what they need to accomplish. Spock worries about how they will accomplish it. Kirk accepts setbacks and distractions. Spock regards setbacks and distractions as failures of the plan.
Kirk tells people why they need to do something. Spock tells them what they have to do and how they have to do it. That’s why James T. Kirk is the captain of the Starship Enterprise.