My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so popular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide an ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Positional Leadership

Episode 16:  The Ringbanger

Hawkeye:    We got us a real “ring banger” here.
Trapper:   A “what banger”?
Hawkeye:   Didn’t you see the way he kept banging his ring on 
           the chair?
Trapper:   Yeah.
Hawkeye:   A little reminder that he’s a quarterback and we’re 
           just the water boys.
Trapper:   I got a feeling he wouldn’t be so tall if he weren’t 
           standing on so many bodies.

An over zealous colonel comes to camp injured, exerting his authority and eagerness to return to the front line to kill more of the enemy.  Hawkeye and Trapper try and prevent him from returning to battle by convincing him he was suffering from ‘battle fatigue.’

There are many different styles of leadership; from task-oriented to people-focused, bureaucratic to servant, autocratic to participative, and many others in-between.  Regardless of the style or situation, it is commonly agreed that leadership is more about influence than position.  Position asserts the rights of a leader, whereas influence accents the responsibilities of a leader.  Position is self driven, influence is others driven. Position exerts power over others, influence empowers others. While positional leadership is a reality in most organizations, leaders have a choice about how they use their position.  In his book, The 360 Degree Leader, John Maxwell, who teaches that “leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less,” defines the relationship between position and influence by stating, “Influencing others is a matter of disposition, not position.”

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