We are still pretty barbaric when it comes to leading people in the corporate world. We have made tremendous technological progress from the stone ages. Yet, the corporate view of “leadership” is still quite primitive. It has not changed from the way the Romans viewed it two thousand years ago, or the Egyptians perceived it five thousand years ago – which is to own those we lead and use fear to get them to do the things that we want them to do.
We may have made some changes here and there. But essentially it’s all the same.
Of course, we are not “bad” people. In fact, most of us, at one point or another in our lives, get sick and tired of this kind of leadership. Both from having to lead others this way or being led by others this way. A part of us yearns for a better way. We even look for it. But we can’t find it. When we do find it, we’re told by others that it’s the “wrong” way. It’s a frustrating position to be in. Because we are led to believe that the old way of leading is the only way. That there is no other way. That other ways are unprofitable. That business can’t run without this kind of leadership. That what the business school taught us is the only way to run our business.
Not true. Quite the opposite, in fact. For the last thirty years or so a handful of men and women of many successful, progressive companies are adopting a new way to lead their people. Not because they are “touchie feelie” kinds of people, but because they are smart business people. Not only because they are “idealistic” and “romantic” – which they often are - but also because they see that there’s a better way to create a business that’s dramatically more profitable than a traditionally led business and can last generations after generations after generations.
What’s this “new way” of leading or True Leadership? That’s what we will cover in the next two articles.
In the meantime:
· Think about those leaders in your life that you personally respect. Make sure that these leaders are those that you have personally seen in action and worked with, not those about whom you read in books or watched a TV documentary.
· Don’t limit your list to those in corporate world. Also include those from your church or temple, your circle of friends, your family members, your local Parent Teacher Association – any one who you can think of in a leadership position.
· Why do you respect these people? What comes to mind when you think of them? Why did you or others in her group choose to follow her?
Chances are the leaders you have picked are not in the corporate world; they are from outside of it. Why is it that the corporate world can’t produce effective leaders while the other parts of the society can?
We will also consider that question in the next two articles.