A Manager is the titular head of a group of people. In today’s world, companies encourage the use of the word “resources” in place of “people”; because that’s exactly how Managers must perceive those they manage to survive.
Managers assign tasks to “resources” – who they combine with other resources – to create, in most cases, an unholy mess. The Manager monitors the progress of the mess, submitting the proper paperwork, nodding at the right places, and kissing the proper asses to smooth the way. At the end, and if the mess hasn’t been too catastrophic, the Manager gets some sort of reward for managing all those “resources” in a relatively benign way. Frequently, the reward is a disproportionate “bonus” based on the work of those who got squat in return. Sometimes the reward is more “resources” with which to create even larger messes.
By contrast, leaders are anti-managers. They have ideas and they invite people (never resources) to journey with them to some shining new place. They do as little paperwork as possible and they most assuredly don’t kiss anyone’s ass or nod when they don’t have a clue what’s going on. While a Manager takes refuge behind the failure of a subordinate “resource”, a leader says, “Get off their back. If there’s a mistake here, it’s my fault.” Exceptionally good leaders learn from those failures and use them to create even shinier new places.
Our current Tree Stump-in-Chief fancies himself a “CEO President”. This oxymoron is the most dangerous hybrid of the concepts of managing and leading. CEOs, most of them anyway, are managers. Their work consists chiefly of delegating work to others and watching them do it. They are nearly always blind to the difference between two other key concepts – delegation and abdication. Presidents simply lead.
In Shrub’s case, this is best shown by our crisis du jour, Iraq.
Commander Bunnypants listened to some loony neo-con Managers tell him that if we mugged Saddam and took over Iraq we’d been in ass-deep clover. Not once did he question this advice. Not once did he become curious enough to ask how we would do it. Not once did he ask who would do it, how much it would cost, or what would happen if he got exactly what he asked for and won the war.
He then delegated the doing to incompetent bunglers like Rummy, Dick, and Condi. At least he thinks he delegated. In fact, he abdicated. That means he turned over the whole damned thing to someone else, save for the early-going photo ops where he could take credit for how swimmingly he’d done – and headed off to clear some Crawford brush. He abdicated every detail to the bunglers, proving himself a more incompetent than usual Manager, let alone a competent Leader.
Now that a thousand “you’re doing a heckuva jobs” are dirty water under a bombed out Baghdad bridge, he’s not sure how to act. First, he claimed we were all blind and stupid. “OF COURSE! Everything’s finer than fine.” Then, he alluded to some vague notions of possible errors, the infamous “mistakes were made”, small and infinitesimal though he swears they may be. He even threw in some “accountability” by jailing a few hapless Army privates for hooking wires to Iraqi “privates”.
A Leader would likely have never gone to the God-forsaken sandpit to begin with and if they did, they’d sure as hell would have noticed something wrong before the three-year mark.
When watching this cluster-fuckbomb, we find ourselves wondering where the hell all the Leaders are. George Marshall was able to rebuild all of Europe quicker and cheaper than George has mucked up Iraq. George Washington managed to whip the British despite the fact his “army” was less than half the size and composed of men who knew about as much about warfare as Dubya does about the National Guard. For centuries it seems, we’ve always been able to find a Leader when we needed one, but no more.
There is not a single Republican or Democrat we’d trust to plan a birthday party for the Omnipotent Daughter, much less lead a country. Instead of Leaders, we have a Congressful of bribe-taking, forked-tongued, asshats who can’t agree on a single thing – no matter how small or trivial. They’re backed by a Judiciary of troglodyte nutcases bent on ushering us into the 18th Century. And the Executive – Big Giant Stupid Head at the helm – is the worst of the bunch. They couldn’t figure out how to use a phone and call a terrorist even if they had his data-mined phone number.
We’re sorry to say that about the only thing our current “Leaders” can lead is a slow-tramping death march right into the bowels of the outhouse. It stinks to high-heaven and there’s no end in sight.
As Shrub might say, “That’s some damn fine leadin’ we’re a-doin’ here!”