Do good bosses lead – or just manage?
Thrown into the position of Spiritual Program Coordinator [at Chenrezig Institute in Queensland, Australia], I resorted to my traditional management style of ‘point and click’ – I point and my staff clicks with whatever activity or project is required. I was soon to learn that management in a Dharma center does not work this way.
A Dharma center is not just an organization; it’s a family with its concomitant rivalries and challenges. Working in one presents many unique challenges. Firstly, Center Directors, Spiritual Program Coordinators, etc., are not always appointed on the basis of skill but sometimes on the basis of what we need to learn and develop – things like patience, ethics and so on. Secondly, staff frequently consists of volunteers with corresponding limitations in skills and experience. Clearly, traditional management practices involving control and delegation will not work. A new paradigm is required – leadership versus management.
A manager directs or pushes behavior; a leader inspires and pulls behavior. A leader is a coach versus a director, a facilitator versus teacher, a partner versus a boss. In brief, a leader is an example of what can be achieved. But how to implement this tall order? I scoured my Dharma books and not surprisingly found the solution…work