(I’m turning over this week’s post to Lisa Cobb, Payroll Supervisor at PayReel.  See you next time!  AB)

Last week I attended a Leadership Certificate Program in Washington D.C.  What I took away from the three days is how true leadership differs from good old-fashioned management.

Our instructor, Martin Armstrong, is retired military and served time in Afghanistan.  He is currently a Senior Director at Time Warner Cable in North Carolina.  He was full of stories … which reminded me of someone back at the office, but I won’t mention any names (Alva Brown).  Martin shared stories about great leaders that have impacted his life both in and out of the military.

Day one, we learned about the different leadership styles and discovered where we fit in.  We discussed the weaknesses that each style can exhibit and were given tools to help build on our personal weaknesses.  It was great to learn that I actually have a leadership style!

Day two, we split into groups and built the old index card, paperclip, and tape tower.  My group won … of course!   Unfortunately, the prize was more index cards, paperclips, and tape.  It was really interesting to see how different groups of people go about accomplishing (or not accomplishing) the same task. And it was fascinating to see how leaders emerge.  It made an otherwise goofy exercise somewhat poignant.

The final day was full of topics.  Evidently, I felt like I hadn’t received enough attention that day, so I volunteered for a role play exercise.  Turns out, I was the lucky individual who had to call an employee in to discuss a very awkward issue …  body odor.  This exercise reminded me how much “fun” being a leader can be.  Even so, I couldn’t wait to get back and practice some of my newly acquired skills … not that body odor is a burning issue at PayReel.

So, what is the difference between being a leader and being a manager?  I guess the moral of Martin’s stories was that to manage is simply to enforce policy.  To lead is to take a stand for the success of your employees and teammates.  Sometimes that involves following the rules … sometimes that may involve changing them.

Anyhow, before heading back to Denver, I was able to spend the weekend with one of my daughters who lives in D.C.  We hit the National Zoo, shopped, and ate too much.  It was perfect!

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