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Our Definitions Of Leadership Are Mostly Wrong
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/9/2014 | 3:56:18 PM
Re: Words are not enough
@SaneIT- A fair question, but I've interviewed at organizations where I never met a hiring manager until i was in the last 3 people or so. that seems rather powerful. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/9/2014 | 3:55:13 PM
Re: Why are they wrong?
Thanks, Ben. I think you are right, but let me ask you a question about value standards. Do our values come from leaders at work or are they our personal values? Can a leader change my values or am I a fully formed person?

I get, for instance, how a leader can inspire me to be more or less innovative be empowering me and defining what failure means in an organization (less fear of failure usually equals more innovation). 

But i've been in organizations where I felt the leaders was very effective at communicating his desire to run a moral, respectful, collaborative environment where it was clear that value had not been transferred to about a third of the team. 

Was that failure on the leader's part? Was that simply failure on the part of those people not to realize they were in the wrong organization for them? Or are there always going to be people who don't pick up 100% of the values the leader puts out there?
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/9/2014 | 7:11:26 AM
Re: Words are not enough
How much hiring does the HR director really do?  Where does the HR director get their orders from?  I can say for sure that I've never met an HR director that actually did the hiring.  They bring bodies through the door but department managers do the actual hiring.  I haven't met an HR director who drives the professional policies either, all of the ones I've worked with consolidate what other parts of management pass on to them as requirements.
LUFU
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LUFU,
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2014 | 4:24:28 PM
Re: A Leader Needs Adjectives
Spotting a good leader is somewhat like how a Supreme Court judge (Potter Stewart) commented on obscenity in Jacobellis vs Ohio, "..I know it when I see it."
BenSimonton
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BenSimonton,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/8/2014 | 3:02:52 PM
Re: Why are they wrong?

David,

Thanks for the thanks. As to your question "Is the reason we're not good at talking about leadership in an enterprise setting because we're too busy trying to separate management from leadership?"

For managing any resource, there are right actions and wrong actions. As concerns managing people, the only way to manage them is to lead them. People cannot be directed to be highly motivated or to have high morale. But they can he "led" to be highly motivated and have high morale. People have feelings, emotions, and needs. If you treat them with disrespect by giving them orders, not listening to them, or not giving them the information they want, those actions will "lead" them to treat their work, their customers, each other, and their bosses with the same level of disrespect.

In my previous post, I stated that leadership is simply the transmission of value standards because value standards are what the ~95% of us follow. Most of the value standards in a workplace emanate from the support or lack thereof provided by management - tools, material, training, coaching, direction, discipline, information, planning, etc.

So leadership is what dictates the performance of employees, whether they are productive, innovative, and creative or not. The possible performance gain from superior leadership is about 500%, not 5% or 50% but 500%. That was written by Stephen Covey in 1992, but my own experience as an executive bears that out.

 

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2014 | 12:48:39 PM
Re: Words are not enough
@SaneIT- I like the Roosevelt quote, too. But just as a rhetorical question-- does that mean the HR director is the most important leader in any company?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2014 | 12:47:14 PM
Re: Words are not enough
@Rich- Ha! That's a fantastic pictiure and we should use it more often in all comments. :)

But seriously, this gets to the heart of something I don't think we know the answer to. Is Putin a good leader or is he an autocrat?

Leaders get their power from a combination of skills and position and autocrats just get it from position. I think we often assume to become an autocrat in a non-royal setting, you have to have leadership skills to rise to that point. But it is entirely possible, I suppose to weild other kinds of power to get into one's position-- violence, intimidation, nepotism, luck, etc.

Business, at least, seems to be trying to divide dictating and use of raw power from leadership for more soft skills leadership-- collaboration, persuasion, etc. Is that what we should be doing or is Putin an example a CEO should take?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2014 | 12:42:47 PM
Re: A Leader Needs Adjectives
@lufu- that's an interesting point. I suspect Drucker would say a good leader has good followers.

But this is part of the problem with our definition of leadership, right? We're always assuming leadership means quality. Leadership implies control, not quality.

We often conflate leadership and "good leadership." This is fine, but it makes it harder for us to know what we're talking about.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2014 | 12:40:54 PM
Re: Why are they wrong?
Thanks, Ben. That's a really interesting response.

So this brings up an interesting issue for me. My first response was "he's not talking about leadership. He's talking about managing. He's talking about boosting productivity."

Then I realized that basically there's no other measure of leadership in business than talking about boosting production so of course the two are conflated. It isn't like you ever need to lead a team of supply chain managers into battle against the typhoon that's going to delay a shipment.

So here's my broader question- Is the reason we're not good at talking about leadership in an enterprise setting because we're too busy trying to separate management from leadership?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2014 | 12:33:33 PM
Re: Our Definitions Of Leadership Are Mostly Wrong
Maybe it's something we made up to pretend we have an explanation for the way we organize ourselves.


Hrm...so Zerox203, are you saying that we make up the word leader to make up for the mental guilt we have for being a follower?

Here's an interesting thing that sort of goes with that. A study came out last week that repeated some experiments done in the 60's (with some refinements) trying to determine why people collaborate with groups like the Nazis.

In the experiment, they had people demand that subjects push a button that they were told would send electrical shocks through a patient. And some were told the pateint would even die. They discovered that the people most likely to push the button (rather than refuse) were the ones who were most likely to be described as "nice" or "agreeable" in their regular lives. Those that were consider not nice, were far more liekly to refuse to hurt someone.

No one wants to draw too large a conclusion from this, but perhaps the issue of following is a bigger deal than that of leading.
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