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Site Redesign and a Renewed Focus

As a recreational blogger who struggles with commitment to write on a regular schedule, I have been slow to pay cold hard cash to a web host for my site. I would love to slap a CMS on there and take off to the races.

I have a long list of excuses to draw from to keep me away from writing. I’m tired. I’ve worked all day. Our kids all have performances tonight. This porridge is too hot. This porridge is too cold. Where’s the third bowl?

Then I read about David Sparks wrangling his own family in California, working as a successful attorney, writing at his own MacSparky blog, recording the MacPowerUsers podcast with his partner Katie Floyd across the nation in Florida, and publishing two books in the past year: Mac at Work and iPad at Work.

Did I mention pocasts? Yes I did. Look at Dan Benjamin’s 5by5 podcast network. He’s been committed to recording audio since he was a kid and has built his current empire in just over a year. He manages production of 18 successful shows and is cohost in 10 of those. During the past year he and his wife had one youngster running around the house, another one on the way (congratulations Dan!), and orchestrated a move from Florida to Austin, Texas, while only missing a few episodes.

Yeah, I’ve got nothing to whine about. I need to shut up and get busy.

For now, I’m dressing up this free WordPress.com website with a new (to me) theme. I hope you enjoy my implementation of Dusk to Dawn.

What would I run on my own server? I enjoy WordPress.com. I’ve been using it here on the free hosted site for years now and wouldn’t mind rolling my own installation of the .org variety; however, the latest version of Drupal is enticing as well. For the record, I have been using Drupal Gardens at work and can vouch that it provides an excellent hosted version at a reasonable cost.

I’m going to percolate a little longer in the womb here at wordpress.com and continue to focus on writing more before seriously considering a move and rebirth of sorts with a hosted provider.

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Managers vs Leaders

Lead from where you are

Fancy titles and expensive business cards don’t make you a leader and you don’t have to be anyone’s boss to be their leader. Everyone has the capacity for leadership and anyone can be a leader regardless of their role.

Constant use has muddled the meaning of the word leadership. True leaders are overlooked because they often are not the ones in charge even when they should be. Leaders are not glory hounds.

Leadership is similar to respect. Leadership isn’t bestowed on a person when they get a title, a nice parking spot, and a fancy nameplate on the door. Just because someone is the CEO, the superintendent, the chairman, the Grand Poobah, it doesn’t mean they know how to lead.

What is a leader?

Good managers are not necessarily leaders, though leaders are usually good managers. Author Seth Godin says managers want the same thing today as they got yesterday, only faster and cheaper. More widgets. Higher yield. Increasing the bottom line.

Some managers are little more than taskmasters who are good at cracking the whip and keeping the worker bees in line. Leaders provide support and resources to help people reach their goals. Where managers might ask, “What else can you do for me?” leaders ask, “What else can I do for you?”

Managers dole out task lists, fret over process and details, and micromanage every step of a job. Leaders understand everyone is different and appreciate the diverse talents each individual brings to a project. A leader asks you to set a goal and steps out of the way, then provides the support and resources you need to reach the goal in your own way.

To summarize, managers are rigid where leaders are flexible. Managers are by the book. Leaders understand it’s OK to bend the rules sometimes and even to break them if necessary.

Leaders have a different way of assessing their environment, their project, the task at hand. A leader seeks ways to help everyone on the team achieve at higher levels. Leaders look for new ways to reach beyond their goals.

Leaders don’t ask for permission, they ask for forgiveness. That doesn’t mean they are looking for creative ways to get into trouble, but that they constantly strive to overcome the status quo and find greatness in others as well as themselves.

If you dread it when The Boss visits, then you probably work for a bad manager (or worse); however, if your boss’s visits provoke honest discussion helping you find new ways of thinking–you feel better after they leave–then she is probably a leader.

Leaders don’t care about titles

It’s worth ending where we began. Fancy titles and expensive business cards don’t make you a leader and you don’t have to be anyone’s boss to be their leader. Everyone has the capacity for leadership and anyone can be a leader regardless of their role.