The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: “Manager or Leader? Understanding Your Strengths in the Context of Management and Leadership” with Dr. Gama Perruci

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This ongoing series explores sessions of the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) through participant narratives. MLDP is a one-term program designed to develop citizen leaders among sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Dartmouth College. Led by expert guest speakers each week, sessions employ experiential teaching techniques to engage students through hands-on learning of core management and leadership skills.

"A manager is the person responsible for planning and directing the worker of a group of individuals... A leader is a person who has a vision, a drive and a commitment to achieve that vision." -F. John Reh

Cultivating the audience’s attention with detailed scenarios, Dr. Gama Perruci began our MLDP session, entitled “Manager or Leader? Understanding Your Strengths in the Context of Management and Leadership" by encouraging us to identify the five components needed for management and leadership to take place. After much brainstorming with guidance from Dr. Perruci, we concluded that the five components were: the Manager/Leader, Followers, Goals, Organization (context) and Values (culture).

Photo by Thanh V. Nguyen

Shortly after exposing the five key components needed in order for management and leadership to exist, we participated in peer-to-peer activities that helped us distinguish between management skills and leadership skills. As a guiding principle, we drew upon Warren Bennis's 1989 work On Becoming a Leader, where Bennis states that “a manager administers and asks how and when, while a leader innovates and asks what and why."

Interacting amongst each other in smaller groups, we collectively completed a management and leadership development assessment. By the end of the session, I learned that I have stronger leadership skills than management skills, supporting the results I had received from a strengths test we had completed prior to the session. Dr. Perruci also gave us insight into why context and values are a relevant part of management and leadership. He explained to us how the context of organizational values and norms is a process by which management and leadership forms a relationship with a follower to create a goal and understand organizational contextual values.

Dr. Perruci closed the session with three questions: Where am I as a leader, What does being a leader mean to me and how can I improve my management skills, and Am I satisfied in life's journey having stronger leadership strengths in comparison to management strengths? How do I improve both? From those, I was able to personalize my own experiences as a leader. This presentation taught me that every organization needs both great managers and leaders in order to create a successful atmosphere. Together with enthused followers, they build a sustainable framework to achieve realistic goals.

-Written by Nandi Williams MALS '15, Fall 2014 MLDP Participant

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences