Leadership: Production vs. Consumption

by  Mike Henry  |  Leadership Development

Leaders Produce

Leadership influences others to do things they might not otherwise do. Good leaders influence others for mutual benefit.  Effective leaders simply influence. (See this post for further definition.)

All leadership development aims to a point in the future when the student becomes a producer.  The training, coaching, content or instruction points to a moment when the consumer becomes the producer.  Value is created by a leader’s investment in the lives of others; leadership production.

Production Requires Consumption

However, we never stop consuming.  When we do we begin to rust.  Reading leadership content, interacting with other leaders, dialogue, coaching, interaction force us to think about what we know and expand our arsenal of ways we can positively influence others.

Leaders are measured by their output.

We’re more like a warehouse or an assembly line than we’d like to admit.  When a warehouse stops receiving, the beginning of the end is marked.  Eventually there will be nothing left to ship.  More like an assembly line, we must continue to receive components and assemble them into new ideas that we use to serve those we influence.  When we stop receiving eventually we cease shipping.

Production Measures Leadership

As leaders, we’re measured by what we ship, not what we receive.  The word consumer won’t serve as a synonym for “leader.”  Produce great ideas and deliver them to your sphere of influence.  That’s leadership!

So as a leadership producer, how’s your output?  What new ideas have you assembled and distributed lately?  Where are you in the launch of your distribution system?  Don’t just listen, create something!

What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Deborah Costello  |  01 Sep 2011  |  Reply

An excellent call to action Mike. Short of being a hermiit, we are all interacting with each other daily, creating and influencing, whether we want to or not. The inevitable result is output, but what is our output? Your piece reminds me that mindful, conscious, ever evolving and improving output is the goal. And the means to this goal is mindful, conscious, ever improving input. The leadchange group is a big part of my input.


Mike Henry  |  01 Sep 2011  |  Reply

Deb, thanks for the comment and for being a part of Lead Change. I’ve been working on my core values and this is one; producing value in excess of what I consume. I’m glad to get to be associated with other great folks who feel the same way. Thanks again, Mike…

Ken Garman  |  01 Sep 2011  |  Reply

Great article Mike. If we’re not careful our output can become stagnant in either of two ways.
1. If we spend too much time learning and receiving input then our deliverable’s go down.
2. If we spend too much time giving and leading without enriching our knowledge base then our out put becomes stale and bad output is worse than no output.
Your post was a reminder and a wake up call for me. Thanks!

Mike Henry  |  01 Sep 2011  |  Reply

Ken, thank you for the comment. I appreciate how you took the time to comment and generally don’t want to “pick on” a small phrase in your comment. However, as someone with a bias for action, I’m challenged by the idea that nothing is better than something done poorly. Part of me wants to agree with you. I’m sure that there are times when doing nothing would cost less, or forced fewer people to have to waste time fixing whatever problem you created. I agree going through the motions is bad. But trying and failing is good. As someone who often fails, I hold on to that belief to keep going.

Thanks again, Mike…

Ken Garman  |  01 Sep 2011  | 

I agree with you completely. I was merely trying to point out that we as leaders have no business with all the information available to us, to have poor quality offerings to those we lead.
Thanks for responding,

Mike Henry  |  01 Sep 2011  | 

Agreed. Thanks for adding to the conversation. I appreciate your interest and feedback. Mike…

Noraini  |  02 Sep 2011  |  Reply

Hi Mike,

Couldnt agree more when you said “Leaders are measured by their output”. Am fully agree with you. A great leader is one who are able not only to lead, but to be able to produce ideas and turns it into reality, into a success story benefited to all, as much as to make good choices in deciding things!

Stephan De Villiers  |  28 Oct 2011  |  Reply

I agree with you basic theme that Leaders need to produce. However I also believe that sustainable leadership is only possible when the Leader has the ability to tap into the collective genius of the people he/she leads and produce through the followers new ideas, solutions to problems etc. Leaders are measured by their output, but they should also be measured by the output of the group or organization they lead. If all the production comes only from the leader with the group acting just as the implementers, the leadership model is not sustainable.

Mike Henry  |  28 Oct 2011  |  Reply

Thanks Stephan for the great feedback. Your interpretation of the post is accurate, but a bit more literal than I originall intended. The output of the team and the output of the organization are the higher priorities. We all work to produce a team outcome. The positional leader of that team needs to get their team to do the work necessary to produce the team’s output. I agree with that.

However a character-based leader is someone who doesn’t let obstacles keep them from making a contribution. They don’t have to be the positional leader and they also don’t have to make the end contribution. They simply produce value for the team rather than simply draining energy and output from that same team. A leader who’s not in charge, creates value. Their contribution matters. That was the scope of the post and the original thought.

Thanks for extending the conversation. Mike…

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