This morning I woke up pondering…why aren’t there more dynamic leaders out there? Why is there so much leadership literature on the market and internet, but it does not seem to change anything? Why are all these leadership consultants with seemingly little to no true leadership experience making money? Innovation, Creative Leadership, Strengths, Emotional Intelligence–why? Read a piece by Joseph Nye and came up with the following.
If your job is to create or develop leaders, what do you tell them about leadership or being a leader?…I hope you are telling them almost anyone can become a leader. Leadership CAN be developed. The nature vs nurture theories are interesting, but really how can a leader be all nature? The nurturing/developing piece is huge. Do you really believe that? What are you doing about it? Leadership must exist at all levels, with or without formal authority–you simply don’t need a title to be a leader. In our work, people are both leaders and followers depending on the task and the role. The greatest leaders know how to “lead” from the middle.
True leaders possess both soft and hard power skills: collaborative and command/control (C2) styles and know when to use them. One is not better than the other….despite what you may read. Leaders must also depend on and trust their followers–indeed their organization and leadership style are shaped by their subordinates. Some personalities possess presence and magnetism … but consider this…isn’t “charisma” largely bestowed on a leader by followers?
Ever work for a boss with one style of leadership? We must demand more from our leaders…appropriate style depends on the context of the situation. There are definitely “autocratic situations” and there are “democratic situations,” normal and crisis conditions, and routine and novel crises. Further, strong leaders need good diagnosis skills in terms of the need for change (or not to change).
Leadership in crisis conditions requires advance planning, thinking, preparation, emotional maturity, and the ability to distinguish the roles of strategic, operational, tactical, and political venues. The appropriate mix of styles and skills varies with the stage of the crisis…and a strong leader must navigate each or better yet trust subordinates to step into missions sets that fit their strengths and compliment the leaders weaknesses….emotional intelligence is key here. Personally, I love the strategic to operational levels of leadership…and rapidly lose interest as we approach the tactical…but I have been blessed with stellar deputies you thrive at the operational to tactical…just step aside and let them shine! I have yet to be disappointed.
Too much banter and blah, blah, blah? What do you think?