LEADERSHIP: The Solution. Cleverly Disguised as the Problem. by Stan Slap
What’s needed is a model that will reliably allow managers to live their values at work without the company having to constantly facilitate the process. A self-sustaining model that is a safe and healthy choice for both the company and its managers.
Brace yourself: The model is called leadership.
Wait — come back!
Not leadership the way you typically hear about it, as a corporate subversion of the concept—the 10, 100 or 1,000 immaculate and selfless organizational behaviors required for you to be anointed a “leader.” The true purpose of leadership isn’t to increase shareholder value or the productivity of work teams. That’s important and leadership will indeed do these things when applied in an organization; any corporate objective that depends on inspired human effort will best be realized through leadership. But that’s not the point of leadership; it never has been and it never will be, and to confuse cause and effect is to deny the critical reason to become a leader in the first place.
Taking the concept “leaders do the right thing” literally sets companies galloping off in an obsessive search for whatever “thing” is the Holy Grail of leadership. It’s not what leaders do that’s important;it’s why they do it. Leadership is a motivation. It’s a purpose before it’s ever a practice. The worst thing in your own development as a leader is not to do it wrong. It’s to do it for the wrong reasons. There is more mythology, misdirection, superstition and generalized academic babble about leadership than any other business subject. In fact, the purpose of leadership is to change the world around you in the name of your values, so you can live those values more fully.
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