A few days ago as I
logged into my Linkedin account, someone had posted 2 different pictures of a
fire. The caption on the left said managers light a fire under people and the
caption on the right said leaders light a fire in people.
of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Besides managers and
leaders, I’d like to add another to the list and we’ll call this group of
people fire extinguishers.
Image courtesy of supakitmod at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One definition of a manager
is a person who has control or direction of an institution, business, etc., or
a part, division, or phase of it.
When a job or task
needs to be completed, a manager lights a fire under the employees to
accomplish the mission. He or she may do this by reminding the workers of their
role, bonus, possibility of being fired or a number of other ways. Some even
become verbally abusive.
A leader lights a fire
in those around him or her by helping them see the big picture or the vision of
the direction the organization intends to go. The fire becomes internal and
those who work with the leader do not have to be reminded of what they need to
do. They do it with a red hot passion. They appreciate the wisdom, energy and
expertise of the leader.
We have all seen people who are fire extinguishers. They make snide comments to fellow employees. “Why are you
working so hard?” “You know these people don’t care nothing about you.” “Who
are you trying to impress?” “I see that you’re trying to make brownie points.” “You
do realize, they are only paying you minimum wage.” Fire extinguishers do their
best to extinguish every flame in those around them. They have little and
possibly no ambition and they don’t want those around them to show desire
When I was a young man,
the minimum wage was low in comparison to today’s wage. An older man told me, “Son,
if the man is paying you three dollars an hour, you give him at least five
dollars an hour worth of work. You will never move up in life if you only do
the bare essentials of your job.” This principle has stayed with me for
approximately forty years.
Who are your close
associates? If they try to extinguish your fire, be kind to them but pick some new
In the comment section
below, share your story of how a leader, manager or fire extinguisher affected
I’d like to ask you, “Are
you a manager, leader or fire extinguisher?”
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Author of The Networking Guru