Human Wants Are Without Limits
The reason we can learn how to be successful managers and leaders is that the functions are a social science. And as a social science, the study of leadership and management is based upon two major facts. Understanding these two facts can save you more time, more grief, and more frustration and give you more insights and the potential for finding more success and peace of mind than anything you can learn about leadership and management.
Indisputable: The First Fact
First, human wants are without limit—and can never be fully or completely satisfied. This means that if a teacher gets new desks, it's normal for him or her to want new books, and then new chairs. If class size is reduced from 25 to 24, it's normal for the teacher to want a class size of 23, then 22, and so forth.
This is true for everyone, including students, principals, and superintendents. For instance, if you give students five extra minutes for lunch, don't be upset if they ask for ten minutes. It's normal. If you give students three choices for lunch, know that they may ask for four—then five—because the economic law teaches us that human wants are without limit. This leadership teaching tells you that the long and continuing lists of requests you receive from those being led are both normal and predictable. That means the endless list of requests doesn't necessarily make people bad or wrong. It doesn't necessarily make them selfish or greedy. It doesn't even make them different. It only reveals their normality.
Indisputable: The Second Fact
The second major fact that the study of leadership and management is based upon is equally important. It tells us that all the resources which are available to satisfy wants, both human and material, are always limited in amount. Therefore, leadership in the classroom and the office is always concerned with choices. The leader must make decisions regarding what to do—and what not to do because wants are without limit and resources are always limited. Therefore, know that the leader must always make choices regarding how to spend time, efforts, money, and all other resources. If you make good choices, you'll be successful. If you make bad ones, you'll fail more often than you succeed. These are two foundation facts you can never discount or forget, even for a moment. And these conditions are normal in all people—leaders and followers alike. These are constants. They do not change.
The Two Most Important Factors: Money And Management
It's true, money is very important to being successful. But money isn't everything or even the most significant factor in achieving success, because there are two "most important" factors—money and management. Of the two, the leadership and management factor is, in reality, the most vital element when it comes to success because of the economic law we just discussed: Wants are always without limit—but the resources to satisfy wants and needs are always limited.
Keep this in mind the next time you believe that a lack of money is at the root of all your problems. It isn't. Instead, remember the facts taught by the social science of leadership and management: no organization has all the money it wants or needs—no business, no family, no church, no school, no state, and no nation. And if people were given all the money they desired at any given point in time, they would still want more money. That's what the leadership and management law teaches us.
Above all, we need to be aware that even if we have all the money we desire, we can still fail—and we will fail if we make poor choices. And if you focus totally on lack of money as the cause of all your problems, look out. Why? Because you may also start thinking in terms of what you "can't do" rather than what you can do. You may also start lowering expectations for yourself, those being led, and the organization. Then various forms of ineffectiveness are sure to follow.
Is money important? Absolutely. Does money help make the job of leadership and management easier? Yes. However, even if you have all the money you desire, you will fail with poor leadership and management. And, of course, it needs to be said: The less money an organization has, the better and more highly skilled the manager or leader must be. After all, the fewer the resources, the fewer bad choices and mistakes one can make. This reality applies at every level of leadership. The leader of low-ability employees can't waste time during the day and get work done. The understaffed executive can't squander the time of the staff and get all the work done. This reality points out the overwhelming importance of the leader.
Effective leadership is the result of making good choices. And these good choices begin when effective leaders know the realities and know where they're going. This means they have goals and objectives—and know how they intend to reach their goals. They have workable plans and strategies and are able to persuade people to work—in addition to showing them the way to reach goals. They function out of specific foundations and utilize the methods, techniques, and skills that enhance the success of those being led.
The way we lead is important. And we all choose how we will lead. Make no mistake regarding this reality: How we choose to lead determines our chances for success. It also determines the success of those we lead. How we choose to lead determines our leadership rewards. And it determines whether leading and being led are constructive, productive, and rewarding experiences. That's why the choice we make regarding how we will lead is vital to everyone. We must not say, "I'm the only one who can get hurt by my choice." That's not true. We may get hurt, but so will the organization. Those we lead and those we work with will get hurt as well.