Leadership

Great Leaders Don’t Micromanage

Micromanager

(Photo Credit: The Self Employed)

One of the most deflating and unproductive environments to work in is one led by a micro-manager. How do you when you’re being led by a micro-manager? He or she always has to control everything in the organization.  His or her fingerprints has to be on everything.  The micro-manager is inflexible and does not give you latitude to employ your talents in ways that empower you to achieve maximum success. Organizational leaders must understand that being effective leaders does not mean controlling everything.  In fact, leaders who are micro-managers are often highly ineffective.

Micromanagement inevitably leads to an organization’s tragic downfall.

Great leaders trust their subordinates to use their talents to execute their assigned tasks.  Although there’s nothing wrong with monitoring what one’s subordinates are doing, as long as the monitoring doesn’t become constant and oppressive surveillance, people need to have enough freedom to make choices that enable them to work without fear.  If your subordinates feel they’re going to receive reprimands for the least thing, then you have engendered an environment where fear trumps productivity.

If you’re a leader who can do everything in your organization better than everyone else, then you don’t have much of an organization in the first place.  It’s important for organizational leaders to maintain a democratic system of governance.  A democratic system of governance allows for everyone to feel a part of the organization. Everyone needs to have his or her voice heard and valued in an organization. A great leader encourages critical thinking and discourse; a micro-manager discourages them.

If your leader is a micro-manager, then he or she is allowing his or her ego to drive the way in which he or she leads.

Great leaders don’t offer suggestions about how you could have done a task differently or “better” each time you perform it.  In fact, great leaders frequently sit back and learn from their subordinates and appreciate the value they bring to the organization.  The effective leader is more concerned about getting the right people in the appropriate positions, and then he or she just lets those individuals thrive using their gifts.

No matter how “great” you contend that your leader is, he or she is not a truly great leader if the person is a micro-manager.  An authentically great leader makes everyone around him or her better—not make everyone around him or her miserable and/or timid.

Keep these aforementioned thoughts in mind the next time you begin to contemplate who is a great leader.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Reverend Markel Hutchins: Linking Activism and Ministry

Markel Hutchins

(Photo Credit: WSB TV)

A champion for racial, social and economic justice and product of Morehouse College, Reverend Markel Hutchins serves as a shining progressive example of how postmodern Black preachers should be passionately active in their communities.  Hutchins has not been derelict in his duty to engage in civil and human rights efforts, efforts like those Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X championed. Even when he was in high school, one could see a burgeoning fighter for justice in the making: He led a march against the proliferation of drugs in the neighborhood surrounding his school.  Mr. Hutchins went on to become an ordained Baptist minister, leading Markel Hutchins Ministries.  Although there are laws prohibiting clergymen from being politically engaged in the confines of places of worship, this does not mean they cannot be involved in issues pertaining to social and economic policy affecting their communities, especially outside of their places of worship.  Hutchins certainly understands this.

Reverend Hutchins has an acute awareness of the power and significance of Black preachers’ serious involvement in political, social and economic issues during the Civil Rights Movement.  Black preachers during that period understood how to minister to the comprehensive needs of their congregants.  Yes, it’s one thing to feed one’s members spiritual food; another to feed their social, economic, professional and personal development.  Mr. Hutchins has been highly attentive to the complete needs of those he leads.  By doing this, he helps to further the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Although his leadership and ministry emerged in Atlanta, Georgia, a pivotal site during the Civil Rights Movement, his visionary leadership calls him to fight for justice throughout America.

When Black preachers invest in the communities in which they are situated, those communities become better places to live, work and play.  Unfortunately, too many Black preachers are too concerned about their personal and church’s financial prosperity to involve themselves in essential community development. Numerous pusillanimous Black preachers hide behind their collars and robes instead of tackling challenging and critical issues in their communities, including homelessness, police brutality, unfair labor practices, criminal justice system abuses, and racism, as Reverend Hutchins has done and continues to do.

Ministries not advocating for their communities are purposeless.

Markel Hutchins Ministries has purpose, vision and results.

While we increasingly see, hear and read accounts of preachers involved in corruption, and it’s easy not to support any preacher—which is a product of a burgeoning nihilistic impulse in postmodernism—it’s important to pay tribute to those preachers who are making a remarkable difference in the lives of people and their communities.  This is why we have to give Reverend Markel Hutchins his flowers while he’s living.  Although you may not always agree with his methods and viewpoints, it’s clear this man loves his country deeply enough to hold it accountable to fulfilling its nonpareil ideals—expressed most vividly and eloquently in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  We should demand an America as good as it’s promised, and Hutchins is tireless warrior working to see those utopian founding ideals materialize.

When an individual thinks critically and comprehensively about the work Reverend Markel Hutchins has done and is doing, it becomes transparent why former Atlanta Mayor, Shirley Franklin, the first female mayor of Atlanta and first Black woman of a prominent Southern city, posits that he “will soon be celebrated as one of our nation’s most visible and viable public servants.”

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Leaders Aren’t Afraid to Standout in a Crowd

Effective Leaders

(Photo Credit: The Grio)

Effective leaders aren’t afraid to standout in a crowd and say something that many, most, or all people will oppose.  Being a true leader isn’t about winning a popularity contest or winning Miss Congeniality; it’s about doing and saying what you feel is truly right.  Unfortunately, too many of those we call “leaders” in the postmodern epoch aren’t authentic leaders.  This has led to numerous milquetoast individuals being considered leaders by many Americans.  We have to stop considering people leaders simply because they have a special title and/or they’re always on television.  A simple public presence doesn’t make a person a leader.

Before you consider someone a leader, be sure he or she is leading.  When a person is leading, he or she is making a real difference in the lives of people.  Don’t cheapen what it means to be an effective leader by calling those who are attention-seekers leaders.  A clear difference exists between attention-seekers and leaders who aren’t afraid to stand out in a crowd.  An effective leader isn’t going to have fear of receiving backlash about saying and doing things that will cause people to be unsettled and unnerved.  Many people need to be unsettled and unnerved about the things they believe, say, and do.

People will respect you when you’re willing to say and do the right things, even when saying and doing the right things are difficult to accept.  This doesn’t mean that people will like you or that you will become popular, however.

To be an effective leader, one has to have a commitment to saying and doing substantive things.  An authentic leader has a record of accomplishment, which includes getting things done for others.  If you’re a vain person, you’re certainly not a leader.

Effective organizational leaders don’t worry about who gets the credit for accomplishments. They highlight how it was the team responsible for the accomplishments—not themselves.  People will be able to tell when you don’t have the ability to lead an organization; therefore, you cannot fake genuine leadership.  An effective leader understands that he or she needs to employ the talents of those around him or her.  Being a leader doesn’t mean you know everything.  In fact, a leader acknowledges that he or she doesn’t know everything.

Let’s make a commitment to stop crowning people as leaders who aren’t leaders.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison