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Leadership versus management

I was led to a Facebook post by Tony Scotti in which he re-posted a question of the day by Protective Security Council  “Which of these skills do you consider more important: management or leadership?”  The answered varied and I gave my 2 cents.  In the end everyone was basing their response from personal experiences.  The term management can unveil negative responses, mostly due to the disconnect associated with that position and the men/women on the ground.  But I pose the question:  What about a great leader that has been elevated to management position?  Doe he or she suddenly lose his/her impeccable leadership skills with their new station in life?

In reading the question a light went off in my head about my past experiences with the Maryland State Police and in this industry.  I have always seemed to land under poor management but had great leaders assigned to my teams.  As time went on my leaders were elevated into the management position and things always seemed to change to positively effect the toil of the guys on the ground.  In this business I have often mentioned that there is NO true Leader in the craft.  No specific Go-To man or woman that we can honestly say, “We need to ask him/her.”  What this industry is comprised of is a gang of managers.  Specifically there are 2 types: 1-The ones that have very little to no on real on the ground or down range experience and, 2- those that do have the experience but have forgotten where they came from or have melded into the “system” and left their guys behind.

No matter how you truly forge your way through this industry you have to be blind to not see where the issues lie and continue to fester.  True leaders strengthen the wink link in their chain to make the overall mission a success.  If you don’t have real on the ground experience then you can not fix a problem that you can not identify.

From the grunt level you are not always going to like how a leader leads yet you find a way to respect how they manages their people, and get the job done.  Somewhere we have faltered from the old adage that hard work pays.  Too often people are lured in to the glitz and glamour of what they perceive and good because it is easy.  This industry is being lead by a conglomerate of various company owners who are Type-1 managers.  That is not to say that there are no leaders around, but what it does say is that when they re-appear from the muck and mire you can not recognize them.  Let me also say this: A theoretical understanding of the industry will never outweigh someone that knows the fell clutch of circumstance.  In other words, just because they can talk the talk does not mean they can walk the walk.

So the real question is, “Who is running the Executive Protection industry as a whole, leaders or managers?”

2 comments

  1. Rich Roth

    I think I understand your comments, may I say, Management is big picture, and sets the goals, Leaders take the goal, and lead the team to it.

  2. Eric Konohia

    That’s exactly what I am talking about, however there are no goals being set by anyone, and leaders like yourself have no marching orders to lead everyone to success

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