Galvin speaks on leadership and management
Emma Borne | Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Throughout her professional experience in academia, industry and government, Mary Galvin, dean of the College of Science, said she realized each sector confused leadership and management. Galvin spoke on this confusion in a lecture Tuesday night that was a part of the inaugural Living Legends of Engineering Leadership Lecture Series.
Galvin said leadership and management are fundamentally different because management is goal-oriented organization.
“I see management as being in a position where you’re putting together a team of people, optimizing their skills to accomplish a task, and your job is to assemble and direct the team,” she said.
Leadership, on the other hand, stems from a trusting relationship, Galvin said.
“A commander commands their power, a leader receives it, and to me that’s the real difference,” Galvin said. “If you are a leader, truly leading people, your power is coming from them. … As a leader you have to have followers, and [your power] is not coming just from your authority over them — that’s command, many times it can be management — but to really be a leader, its something thats given to you by the people you’re leading.”
Galvin said she wanted to make clear that being a leader is not the same as being a good person, though there are good leaders. A good leader, Galvin said, comes from within because they are rooted in who they are and what they believe in, they have the trust a respect of their followers, and they have vision and passion.
Galvin said she learned the importance of having deeply rooted values from an experience she had while working at Bell Laboratories. Galvin said she took nine months off work while she was pregnant and after giving birth to her son. Her colleagues, Galvin said, said they respected her decision, but that a decision like that ended a woman’s career — they wanted her to leave. Galvin said she decided that was not an option.
“I didn’t give up, and I stayed in,” Galvin said. “I published some great work that year, and they decided that I didn’t need to leave. I became a distinguished member. But as I went through that time, I realized … I had to understand why I was doing it and what I thought would be a successful life. And in deciding that, I became very rooted in doing things because I wanted to because I thought they were right, because they met my values.”
Galvin said an important question to ask of yourself, as a leader or a manager, is, What is best, not for myself, but for the organization? Galvin said you need to be able to answer that question and ultimately, be able to stand behind the answer.