Saturday, January 15, 2011


2011 Thoughts on Leadership

Leadership is not about command and control nor in creating a perception where everyone is in agreement. Great leaders lead all people under their care, not just those who agree with them...

As much as some don’t want to hear this, there is an “I” in team because teams are comprised of individuals. If you crush the individual character and spirit of those who form your team, how can your team operate at its best? It cannot. The strongest teams don’t weed out or neutralize individual tendencies, they capitalize on them.

The goal of a leader is not to clone him/herself, but to harness individual strengths for the greater good of the team and for the overall benefit of the organization. This is best accomplished by leveraging individual talents not stifling them.

I would be less than candid if I didn’t admit that leading those inclined to follow is significantly less of a challenge than leading those who don’t want to be led. Anyone who has ever been in a leadership position has had to deal with the inevitable tough relationship that causes more than its fair share of brain damage.

At some point in time we’ve all been involved (directly or indirectly, willingly and unwillingly) in the corporate politics of turf-wars, empire building, perception management, silo-centric ignorance, title inflated ego and arrogance, and the list goes on… Regardless of the idiocy in play, it is a leader’s responsibility to effectively lead not only those that agree with their position, but they must also lead those that hold dissenting opinions.

There are always those who choose to oppose or undermine authority, but that in and of itself does not remove the obligation of a leader to fulfill his or her duty. While likability is a great asset to possess as a leader, it is not essential. It is however essential that you have the respect of those you lead. Respect is earned by honoring commitments and doing the right thing for your people regardless of punishment or reward.

It is through making good decisions that are wins for all parties along with placing the growth and well-being of your people as a top consideration and combined with honest communication that you earn respect and maintain rapport even with those who are not necessarily your greatest supporters. Here’s the thing – do this well enough and consistently enough, and you’ll find that most of those who once worked at cross-purposes to you, are now gladly working in concert with you...

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