The Leaders We Deserve

With few exceptions, most businesses are led by people destined to let their charges down at the most critical moment. Some will call it pragmatism and praise it. Others will explain it as exigency, doing what the situation demands to deliver shareholder value. There are a few more labels that follow these two: downsizing, streamlining, retrenching, scaling back. 

Here’s where it gets interesting. These two sets of labels, combined, turn on its head the fact that leadership has failed to deliver and place the penalty on the shoulders of those who, rightly or wrongly, went along with whatever plan had been in place and fought hard to make it work. 

Workers get fired. Management stays on. 

How could this be different? 

Those who lead us do so through our consent. When that consent is given tacitly we miss the opportunity to help those who lead to also grow and develop in the position they hold. When they fail, when their plans fail they do so because they were insufficiently challenged in the first instance. 

It is a delicate balancing act. Consenting to being led, but demanding the leader is worthy of that consent. It requires deft handling, maturity, an awareness that there are shared goals in place and the inevitable building of trust which is so frequently lacking in most workplaces. 

If we want to be led by people worthy of our attention, loyalty and hard work we must also have a hand in making this happen. 

The world is changing. Not overnight and not all at once, but it is changing nevertheless. In my talks to corporate groups, CEOs, VPs and industry leaders I gleam insights of how this change is happening. What evidence exists. Why some things happen and not others and how we can best take advantage of it all to do better. In Observations I catalogue it all. Brief, to the point and open to discussion.