As we enter the 21st century there is a growing awareness of the importance and need for leadership. A wide recognition of the critical need for leadership is so prevalent that many universities now offer graduate programs in its study. It appears that the study of leadership has come of age and is finally receiving its proper recognition. There are literally dozens of various definitions of leadership. We will simply provide one that we feel effectively defines organizational leadership in virtually all situations.
Leadership is the ability to articulate a vision, to embrace the values of that vision, and nurture an environment where everyone can reach the organizations goals and their own personal needs.
Effective modern leadership is a skill comprised of many different traits or qualities. Some of these qualities include vision, a mission, values, commitment, motivation, and consensus building. The lack of any of these important traits or qualities may greatly reduce the effectiveness of a leader. Here is a very brief definition of these qualities. Each one will be individually covered in greater detail in future weLEAD "leadership tips" in this section of leadingtoday.org.
Vision: This is the meaningful articulation of the mission of the organization in such an appealing and intuitive picture that it vividly conveys what the organization can be in the future. Vision instills a common purpose, self-esteem and a sense of membership within the organization. Traditionally, vision has come from the top management of the organization. Many leaders are now also beginning to see the value of creating the vision with those who are closer to the work environment and the customer.
Mission or Mission Statement: This typically describes the purpose of the organization and outlines the types of activities to be performed for constituents and customers. It should also mention what unique value or services the organization offers as a byproduct of its work. Mission statements typically contain at least three components. First, a statement of the overall purpose or mission of the company is declared. Secondly, a statement that indicates the values that employees are expected to maintain and commit to in the decision-making process. Third, a declaration of the major goals that management believes is essential to attain the mission. These goals should be consistent with the philosophical values that employees are expected to maintain.
Values: These are the guiding principles that state how the employees, beginning with management, intend to conduct their business and their behavior. These values will determine what kind of an organization develops and they become the foundation of the organizations culture.
Commitment: This is an employee's emotional investment to extend great effort toward the implementation of a decision, outcome or goal. Successful leaders need to be committed individuals and to solicit the commitment of others to achieve established goals, and the mission.
Motivation: This is the ability to provide an incentive or reason to compel others into action or a commitment. Since all individuals are different, successful leaders know that diverse people respond to different motivators. A wise leader also knows that money is not the strongest long-term motivator and cultivating an environment of fear is the least effective long-term motivator.
Consensus Building: This is the ability of a leader to build an agreement among differing individuals within a group. A consensus usually occurs when various members of a group agree that a particular alternative is acceptable though it may not be the first choice of each member. Consensus building can create a greater degree of commitment among group members than a decision make by a simple majority. However, consensus building requires additional discussion time and sometimes may not be possible. Eventually the leader may need to take the initiative and affirm that the group decision has been made to begin implementation.
A valuable purpose of leadership in our modern age is to provide vision, direction and motivation for a team of individuals to accomplish a task or mission that otherwise could not be accomplished by a single individual. Other members of the group, team or organization are called "followers." Followers are those who subscribe to the vision and guidance of the leader. The study of followership is also of growing interest. However, don't be confused by the term followers or followership. This term should never be used in a derogatory or negative setting. Followers may also exhibit leadership qualities in order to achieve their own tasks and individual roles. Followership is such an important responsibility that a great many of today's most effective leaders first learned to be good followers before they acquired the skills, opportunity and experience to lead others. In other words, learning and appreciating the skills of followership are often the reason an individual has gained the experience and necessary knowledge to become a leader.
Wise leaders are beginning to understand that it is their responsibility to develop followership by encouraging the followers participation in goal setting and objectives. Modern leaders are viewing followers as partners in the enterprise who should be encouraged to pursue innovation and given the ability to do their job.
There is very little evidence that the so-called "naturally born" leader really exists. Continuing and ongoing studies are showing that the concept of a "natural born" leader has little merit. One reason for this error may be that people often mistake charisma for leadership. It is true that some leaders possess a great amount of charisma. However, many leaders do not. In reality leaders are not born, they are forged by many factors. Some factors that often forge effective leadership traits are education, preparation, experience and opportunity.
Why is leadership important to you? It is important because the development of positive leadership skills can have a beneficial and powerful impact in virtually every area of your life! Acquiring, understanding and exhibiting leadership skills can have a constructive influence within your workplace environment, within your community and in your personal relationships with others. We encourage you to take advantage of the vast amount of knowledge now available within the growing study of leadership.
For weLEAD, this is Greg Thomas reminding you that it was Harry S. Truman, who once said,
"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."
As we enter the 21st century there is a growing awareness of the importance and need for leadership. A wide recognition of the critical need for leadership is so prevalent that many universities now offer graduate programs in its study. It appears that the study of leadership has come of age and is finally receiving its proper recognition. There are literally dozens of various definitions of lGreg L.Thomas Other Tips
In the forward of this book Tom Peters says, “If you take time to read only one business book this year, I strongly encourage you to read NUTS!” We wholeheartedly agree! Between the covers of this entertaining book Kevin and Jackie Freiberg have captured the essence of the “Southwest Spirit” that has made Southwest Airlines one of the top companies in America. Although Southwest served over 90 million bags of peanuts in 1999, there is nothing “nuts” about the way they run their company. Southwest topped the list of Fortune magazine’s Best Companies To Work For in 1998, and since then has been in one of the top four slots every year.
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to see how the concepts of servant leadership are actually put into practice in a real company of over 30,000 employees. You will learn about a company that practices the golden rule as corporate policy—and has paid quarterly dividends for 97 consecutive quarters doing it! The “Southwest culture” described at length in the book gives this company its strategic advantage. This culture genuinely cares about the welfare of the Southwest employees—which are approximately 82% unionized. Southwest Airlines has turned a profit every year since 1973, yet it maintains the lowest fares in a highly competitive industry. It is one of the most admired airlines in the world, regularly ranks best in customer service, and has a consistently high safety record. Southwest was the first airline to establish a home page on the Internet, and was named by BusinessWeek as a “Web Smart 50” company.
Some of the book’s statistics about the airline are now out of date due to incredible growth. More recent statistics are readily available at Southwest’s web site (www.southwest.com). However, the principles discussed in this book that are used to guide this most admired airline are timeless.
NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success
Bard Press, October 1996 (363 pages in hardbound)
Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub, March 1998 (362 pages paperback reprint edition)
Authors: Kevin and Jackie Freiberg
weLEAD rating highly recommended.
In the forward of this book Tom Peters says, “If you take time to read only one business book this year, I strongly encourage you to read NUTS!” We wholeheartedly agree! Between the covers of this entertaining book Kevin and Jackie Freiberg have captured the essence of the “Southwest Spirit” that hasGreg L.Thomas Book Review Other
Ed Oakly and Doug Krug provide an understandable and clear definition of what they term "Enlightened Leadership." This type of leadership approach attempts to deal with real underlying problems within organizations rather than their symptoms. It is founded on an approach that leaders must first or concurrently deal with the "mindset" or spirit of their people as well as changing processes or structures. Without positively dealing with attitudes and thinking styles among the organization all efforts of changing structures, systems or processes will meet great resistance and potential failure.
They formally define Enlightened Leadership as "the willingness and ability to draw the vision from their people and inspire and empower those people to do what it takes to bring the vision into reality. Indeed, Enlightened Leaders nurture and encourage their people to be open, creative, and innovative and find what it takes to achieve their shared objectives." This type of leadership gets the "members of the organization to accept ownership for that vision as their own, thus developing the commitment to carry it through to completion."
Much of the book is devoted to asking thought provoking questions in the authors hope that the reader can discover their own answers to an enhanced leadership approach. Much of the content in the book is a result of their personal experience working with their own clients and using their own observations. It is obviously full of valid and helpful information presented in an interesting and easy to read style.
Enlightened Leadership - Getting to the Heart of Change
Simon & Schuster, 1994 (265 pages in paperback)
Authors Ed Oakly and Doug Krug
weLEAD rating highly recommended
Ed Oakly and Doug Krug provide an understandable and clear definition of what they term "Enlightened Leadership." This type of leadership approach attempts to deal with real underlying problems within organizations rather than their symptoms. It is founded on an approach that leaders must first or concurrently deal with the "mindset" or spirit of theirGreg L.Thomas Book Review Other
Author Gary Yukl uses his expertise and credibility to write an outstanding book focusing on managerial leadership rather than social or parliamentary leadership. He attempts to include information on both the theory and practice of leadership in modern organizations. This valuable text also includes many recommendations and guidelines for improving the effectiveness of managers and leaders. Leadership in Organizations includes a number of cases in an attempt to help the reader understand real world organizational problems and applications. This is a book that is primarily written and mostly reads like a college text book and is indeed used by a number of universities in their managerial or leadership programs. However, it is easy to read and does an excellent job of including the most informative and relative literature, studies and theories available today.
Gary Yukl has written perhaps the most comprehensive work ever covering virtually every aspect of modern organizational leadership. It can rightly be considered the students “bible” for the study of modern leadership principles and theories. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in the study or organizational leadership, leading teams, leading change or studying follower-based approaches toward leadership.
Leadership in Organizations, 4th Edition,
Prentice Hall, 1998 (564 Pages in hardbound)
Author Gary Yukl
weLEAD rating highly recommended
Author Gary Yukl uses his expertise and credibility to write an outstanding book focusing on managerial leadership rather than social or parliamentary leadership. He attempts to include information on both the theory and practice of leadership in modern organizations. This valuable text also includes many recommendations and guidelines for imGreg L.Thomas Book Review Other
Author Garry Wills has a keen sense of the importance of followers to leadership. In the introduction to the book he states plainly “The leader most needs followers”. He goes on to explain that in reality followers “have a say” in what they are led toward! The theme of Certain Trumpets is that a successful leader doesn’t just trumpet or sound their own certain message, but instead they sound a specific call to others capable of following. He believes that leaders need to understand their followers more than followers need to understand them! What is Garry Wills basic definition of a leader? “One who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by the leader and followers”. In other words, coercion of others is not leadership, it is just power.
With this introduction in mind the rest of the book consists of Wills discussion of individuals who have possessed leadership in various ways. The author believes that different leaders should be considered notable because of their own goals rather than their personalities, which is the most common perspective. As a result of this perspective, Wills does not treat leadership as a single thing, but mentions sixteen various kinds of leadership within the book. He also goes on to discuss various subdivisions within the sixteen kind’s. Certain Trumpets attempts to define these distinctive types of leadership by using examples that range from Franklin Roosevelt (Electoral Leadership) to Dorothy Day (Saintly Leadership). To make this exploration interesting, and to provoke thought, he also provides an antitype character in contrast to each distinctive type of leader presented. It is Wills hope to exemplify the individual’s characteristics by providing this contrast. Wills doesn’t think we lack leaders today, but sufficient followers. He refers to this as the “real problem with leadership”. Certain Trumpets is easy to read, stimulating and creative enough to look at leadership from a different lens.
Certain Trumpets - The Call of Leaders
Simon & Schuster, 1994 (336 pages in paperback)
Author Garry Wills
weLEAD rating recommended
Author Garry Wills has a keen sense of the importance of followers to leadership. In the introduction to the book he states plainly “The leader most needs followers”. He goes on to explain that in reality followers “have a say” in what they are led toward! The theme of Certain Trumpets is that a successful leGreg L.Thomas Book Review Other
Mick Yates is an innovative leadership researcher, teacher and author. With an extensive background in corporate management, Mick passionately advocates Innovation and Value Systems with a particular expertise in Asian culture. He has lived in Asia, Western Europe and the United States. This experience has given Mick a unique comprehension of both Western and Asian cultures. He is the founder of Leader Values-http://www.leader-values.com, a prominent web site that promotes the value synthesis of West and East. In 2001, Mick was elected to Save the Children’s US Board of Trustees.
Your web site http://www.leader-values.com/ is considered one of the most extensive sites on the subject of leadership and values to be found on the web. It is typically rated high on many search engines. How long has it been posted and what inspired you to create Leader-values?
Leader-values was first posted in 1996, although only really got going late 1997 and morphed into its current form in 1999. I try to update it fairly regularly.
The original inspiration was to try to share some of my own learning about Leadership of Multinational and Multicultural organizations, and also create a venue for the sharing of ideas from others. At that time there was little on the ‘net except “consultants” sites selling their services, and there was almost nothing on the “east meets west” aspects of Leadership which I believe both critical and most illuminating.
It has grown a lot since then, especially in attracting many high quality guest writers, although it still remains a non-profit, “one man band” site.
Your site has a heavy emphasis on the importance of “values” in the field of leadership. How do you define these values?
Studying cultures from around the world, Geert Hofstede demonstrated that there are differences, yet many similarities in the hierarchy of values. These build from a common cultural background (i.e. community of birth and education), through narrower peer group structures (e.g. corporations, clubs etc.), and leading upwards to individually specific (i.e. personal) value systems.
People find value in many places - in work, in religion, in sports, in relationships, in public service, in achievement, in travel. But people can only find their own values in one place - inside themselves. Values are with us all, every minute, and our values are apparent to others, every minute.
I have personally been inspired most by the writing of John Gardner on Leadership, and he brings a strong “values” perspective to his work. I’d be happy to talk more about this.
Yes, please do expand on this. Of course John Gardner is a highly respected leadership thinker and consultant who has served a number of American presidents and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civil honor in the United States.
John Gardner wrote a series of papers “On Leadership” which later became a book. In it he stresses the importance of values in the Leadership role, and defines the purpose of Leadership in ethical terms. That seems to me the way he lived, too. He notes that Leaders can still have a “bad” ethical system, but that congruence between a Leader’s and Follower’s values is essential if the two are to go forward together. He stressed the value of teaching, the critical importance of building trust, and the importance of affirming values in the organization as a whole. Gardner also spent some time explaining the role of Leaders as “symbols”. All of these ideas are pivotal, in my view, and have never been better stated.
Why are these values important for leaders?
Values are at the centre of all Leadership activities. On Leader-values, there are two quotes which may help illustrate what I mean.
“Leadership comes from within us, in the sense that deeply held values and principles provide the road map for the way we lead, and the way other people respond. Whether the Leader is a person of impeccable moral fiber, or quite disreputable, it is always their personal value system that sustains them in their quest”.
Every individual’s value system is slightly different from everyone else’s. Understanding one’s own system, as well as seeing how it fits with the systems of others around us, seems to be a pre-requisite for getting an organization to pull together.
“One of the first jobs of a Leader is to figure out what succeeding means (including the role of the followers). He or she must then lead agreement amongst the potential followers and constituencies to be able to act, and thus to succeed. On the negative side, without a clear sense of his or her own personal values, the Leader could get hopelessly lost, falling foul of inconsistency and insincerity as he struggles to handle the constituents”.
Are there certain values you believe are universal and cross all multicultural and transnational boundaries?
Today business has several main constituencies in every corner of the world: customers, employees, shareholders and society at large, and a fifth, if one includes the immediate Family of the employees. Each of these constituencies has its own values, beliefs and needs - they may be rooted in a similar political, religious or ethnic value system, but each will have its own variations of values. Nevertheless, it is my contention that we all have more in common with each other than we have different, and it is the Leader’s job to find this common ground.
As to specific common values – try “macro level” issues like “having a peaceful and prosperous community”, and “micro level” personal issues like “the ability to give my children the education they need”. In other words, common ground is everywhere, and globalization is a positive force.
What do you see as the biggest challenge that leaders face today in the western world and why does it exist?
Successfully integrating the pieces of the jig saw puzzle – constituencies, “east and west”, profit and society, local and global etc. etc. Put another way, “Managing Complexity” via “facilitating the work of others” seems to be critical.
On a political note, what do your think is the biggest role the western world can play to help the struggling nation and people of Afghanistan?
First, take time to understand the Afghan people, their religion, culture and their needs. Make no assumptions, but draw up a comprehensive post-Taliban plan. Second, make available humanitarian aid as quickly as possible, with no strings attached. Focus on the women and children. Third, provide effective security (via an international peace keeping arrangement) whilst the people progress towards self-determination. “Trust but verify”, especially given the terrible human rights records of many of the parties involved on both sides. The Cambodian model (UNTAC – early 1990’s) which provided for the first free elections post the Vietnamese withdrawal could be a good model. Fourth, provide mechanisms to get Afghanistan quickly back into the family of nations – trade deals, political groupings etc. Expect no quid pro quo. Fifth, stick with it – this is not just a “cause of the day”, over when bin Laden is brought to Justice. It concerns 25+ million people who have had decades of war – again, like Cambodia in many ways.
Thank You Mick!
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
Mick was Company Group Chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer business in Asia-Pacific from 1996 to 2001. He led innovative strategic and organizational changes in Marketing, Human Resources, IT, and Manufacturing that capitalized on the Asian “crisis”. Mick was also responsible for one of J&J’s Worldwide Franchises, and was a member of the Global Operating Committee.
Prior to this, Mick was Regional Vice President for Procter & Gamble, based in Hong Kong and Japan. He has spent 11 years in Asia, having also lived and worked across most of Western Europe and the United States. Mick has just left J&J to pursue his own business interests, and is now based in the UK.
Mick researches, writes and teaches on Leadership, Innovation and Value Systems. He runs a website featuring a Western/Asian synthesis (http://www.leader-values.com). Most recently he chaired the session on “Corporate Social Responsibility” at the Pacific Rim Forum in Sydney. He was also a speaker at the APEC CEO’s meeting on “Globalization” in Brunei.
Reflecting a long-term interest in children’s issues, the Yates family supports a Cambodian school development program, in a remote “reconciliation area” of the Country. Details are athttp://www.yatesweb.com/Cambodia/Cambodia.htm.
Mick Yates is an innovative leadership researcher, teacher and author. With an extensive background in corporate management, Mick passionately advocates Innovation and Value Systems with a particular expertise in Asian culture. He has lived in Asia, Western Europe and the United States. This experience has given Mick a unique comprehension of both Western and Asian cultures. He is thGreg L.Thomas Other
The Baron Son, authored by Vicky Therese Davis, William R. Patterson & D. Marques Patton, is a book written by three innovative entrepreneurs who have surely approached the teaching of leadership and business achievement from an exceptional perspective. Most books written about leadership are penned in a non-fictional format. What you read is what you get. Little is left to the imagination as the writers directly impart their ideas from one paragraph to another. The Baron Son uses a different approach. It is written as a fictional story about a wise baron who acts as a revered tutor and slowly imparts knowledge to three young disciples. The end result of this approach is that the reader is left to glean from the visionary wisdom and teachings of the baron. The longer you ponder on each major “supreme principle” as revealed by the baron, the more you personally benefit from his insight.
The three authors weave a large number of moral and successful business principles in this interesting allegorical fable. As you read The Baron Son you come to learn that hard work and effort of itself will not ensure the achievement of goals and personal fulfillment. It is hard work combined with wisdom and proper actions that make it all possible. In this mythical story the wise baron imparts eleven “supreme principles” to his young pupils. The authors don’t break new ground with these valid principles, but they present this knowledge in a fascinating way.
The Baron Son is truly distinctive and will appeal to readers who enjoy fiction. It is a book that can be read in just a few sittings and one that continues to reveal wisdom long after the book is closed and you ponder upon its contents! If you primarily read and enjoy non-fiction, this may not be your cup of tea. But, if you want to learn some sound principles about business, wealth and leadership through a fictional narrative, The Baron Son will make your cup runneth over.
The Baron Son
Vade Mecum 7
Long & Silverman Publishing - 2004 (190 pages in hardback)
Authors Vicky Therese Davis, William R. Patterson & D. Marques Patton
weLEAD rating – recommended
The Baron Son, authored by Vicky Therese Davis, William R. Patterson & D. Marques Patton, is a book written by three innovative entrepreneurs who have surely approached the teaching of leadership and business achievement from an exceptionaGreg L. Thomas Book Review Other
Interviewed by Greg Thomas
Jim Hatherley has been a manager and leader for a Fortune 150 Company for over 25 years. His inspiration to write "Daring To Be Different" actually came from employees who convinced him that managers, and their employees, could significantly benefit from understanding his approach to managing. Told that over 90% of management books are never read in their entirety, Jim's goal was to write a book that was easy to read, easy to remember, and easy to use - and that held the reader's interest until the final page. Based on the reviews in Amazon, he has been successful in this regard. While the book was written with existing and aspiring managers in mind, it has been increasingly used in universities and graduate programs as a supplemental reader in their management programs.
A native Bostonian, Jim is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and has several professional designations.
To read a weLEAD book review of Jim’s book, Daring to Be Different click here!
1. Jim, thank you for your fine book as it was a pleasure to read. What past events in your career contributed to you writing “Daring to Be Different?
Without a doubt, the main reason for writing “Daring to Be Different” was the ongoing encouragement - almost a demand - from the people working for me to write a book that could help managers become more effective, even leaders, by using a similar managerial approach with their employees. Frankly, it was a very flattering experience for me because I was not really aware of the differences until I began to hear about how many employees are almost routinely dispirited by their managers.
I am not saying that what I do is something that just comes naturally to me, because leading is something that I consciously think about all the time. But, it really isn’t as difficult as it seems once you place yourself into the position of the employee, and help them to see the big picture, business objectives and to understand their role in making them happen.
If there is one key, however, it is trust. Trust is a must.
2. What can a new manager do if their predecessor lacked trust and they have inherited a group of suspicious and unmotivated co-workers?
Think about the symbiotic relationship between the manager/leader and the work force. To be a leader, the new manager needs followers, but followers need to be convinced that their leader is capable and trustworthy of guiding them in the right direction.
Therefore, when a new manager takes over there is often a sense of uneasiness within the organization, especially when the person is not well known (or unknown) to the workers. Everybody is watching what the new manager says and does, and many are keeping score.
While most people are usually very nice to the incoming manager at the time of the announcement, what they really want to immediately know is why they got the job, and how their lives are going to be impacted as a result. This means that the new manager must work very quickly on two things: a) establish their credibility and b) create trust.
There is little substitute for getting off to a good start. Some of the initial relationship building can be done in group meetings, but much of it will come in day-to-day/face-to-face encounters. As a result, new managers must be able to publicly present their vision so that their workers know where they are going, and to articulate their philosophy so they will know what is expected. However, it also means that thenew manager must be able to personally relate to their workforce by listening to what they have to say and by hearing what they tell you.
But you also must make the distinction between suspicious and unmotivated workers. There is a difference. The discussion above will help to convert doubters into believers primarily because most employees want to work for someone who makes them eager to go to work each morning, not desperate to go home every night.
Unmotivated workers are another story. Everyone usually knows who these people are, but they do not want to “rat out” another employee. Therefore, among the new manager’s first tasks is to evaluate their staff and to ask for their commitment to reach their goals. Experience shows that most employees will immediately hop on board, followed shortly thereafter by a smaller group once they “get it.” However, after a reasonable effort (fairness is perceived as a managerial asset), when a new manager determines that a worker will be as unmotivated working for them as they were for their predecessor, action must be taken. When this happens, there will be a silent cheer - and long term credibility - coming from the people who are eager to move the organization forward.
3. In your book you draw a sharp contrast between two types of managers. One you call a Monarch and the other a Muralist. Please explain for our readers the difference between the two.
In my experience I have found that most managers are monarchs. Over the years I have tried to understand the reasons for this and I have a few thoughts as to why. For example, Monarchs are typically top down authoritarians - the “my way or the highway” crowd. Information is viewed as power, and is dispensed on a need-to-know basis. This creates a negative environment in which the real/perceived need is to be seen as an “insider.” This clearly fits into the traditional command and control model, and inevitably perpetuates a political culture of concurrently bowing down and kissing up.
I also see that some Monarchs are an extension of the less devious Parent-Child relationship. They have learned and clearly understand how to do as they are told, and expect their employees to be as equally obedient. This is probably why so many employees complain that they feel like they are treated like children.
There are other reasons for Monarchic behavior. For instance, too many managers are more concerned about themselves than with the people reporting to them. When managers are thinking more about getting the credit, or posturing themselves for their next opportunities, than developing the people who are depending on them for direction and support, you can see how lack of trust issues develop.
And, finally, I think a good part of it is laziness. It is far easier to say, “Do it, dammit,” because it places the burden on the employee to learn what they are supposed to do through personal initiative and by organizational osmosis, than it is to roll up your sleeves and help a person develop into their roles and responsibilities. Laziness may be the wrong word - it may be a combination of immaturity and laziness, or it might be that many managers do not fully understand that their “widget” is developing and enabling their subordinates to deliver their “widgets.”
Conversely, Muralists lay out their vision so clearly that their employees not only can see where they are going, but also how they will get there, and what their roles are in the process. They invite their workers to participate in the process to share in the ownership of the result. As a result, employees can see themselves being successful within the plan, and the process set out to achieve it, long before the plan is completed.
Muralists challenge the individual limits of their employees and delight in their mutual discoveries and successes. By doing this, they create a trusting and collaborative environment in which information and knowledge are shared, and so is feedback and ongoing support. What develops is an organization in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Perhaps it would easier to provide a few contrasts and let you judge who you would prefer as the head of your organization:
Muralists dialogue; Monarchs dictate
Muralists supply contagious energy; Monarchs provide infectious lethargy
Muralists give credit; Monarchs take credit
Muralists serve employees; Monarchs are served by employees.
Muralists attract the talented; Monarchs repel the talented.
Muralists lead; Monarchs manage.
Picture a race between two boats on a lake. One is a kayak, the other a rowboat. Who wins? The kayaker is facing forward, moving forward, with a clear view of their destination AND of the obstacles emerging along the way. The rower is moving forward but looking backwards, seeing where they have been, not where they are going. Which one is being propelled by the Muralist?
4. Within your book you write with a sense of passion in your description of a "Monarch" manager. Earlier in your career, were you a Monarch, or did you work under a Monarch? How did you learn about this type of manager?
This is easy because I have not met anyone who has not worked for Monarchs at some point in their careers (perhaps even their entire careers). And, because new managers learn how to manage by following the example of, and taking direction from, more tenured managers, you can see another reason why this kind of leadership style is so prevalent, and in my view, under-effective.
However, I was fortunate that the most influential manager for whom I worked came early in my career. Amid the Monarchs, this manager stood (in the Dr. Suessarian sense) as the “tallest of allest.” What I saw in him was that he not only took the time to be visible, he used his time to learn - and remember - something about everyone who worked for him. They were simple, but important, things, like the names of their spouses, or children, or dogs, or their colleges, or activities, or their special skills, or how they got their nicknames etc. And, he had a great handshake which he used often. All of this made everyone feel very “special” when you were in his presence - and you never wanted to disappoint the person who made you feel special.
But, all of this takes work, and many managers will tell you that they do not have enough of it to invest in such trivialities, even if they are good ideas. Many are just not comfortable asking questions that create such a level of connectivity. Having a workforce that is often dispersed in several locations and even across the country, provides even more challenges. However, developing relationships is a very important part of the job, and the best managers make it look easy, even though I know that it isn’t.
Keep in mind, however - and this point is clearly made in the book - the best leaders are not 100% muralists, nor are the worst managers completely monarchic. Using labels does not eliminate the need to deliver projects and services on time and on budget. The challenge is to develop a leadership style that helps connect employees to the organizational vision and to create a trusting environment in which people do not want to disappoint their leader. Therefore, the best managers are probably “Muralarchs.”
5. In chapter 10 you discuss the overused cliché to think "outside of the box." Tell us why doing this can actually be destructive.
Actually, I find “out of the box” talk a little misleading and disingenuous. Think of the “box” as the organizational business plan and the strategy to achieve its objectives. These goals are not set lightly. Employees are hired and resources expended. To achieve them in a competitive market requires the collective efforts of all employees working together.
This is somewhat analogous to a football team. Once the play is called, every player has a specific role and responsibility to execute. Each player must rely on their teammates to do their jobs. You cannot have eleven players running eleven different plays because they think they know more than the coach or because they have an “out of the box” flea flicker in their bag that makes them the center of attention.
Therefore, talking about “out of the box” thinking can be harmful if it naively encourages the misallocation of resources, or the misdirection of significant energy to activities that do not propel the organization forward.
Instead, it is incumbent on managers to paint the organizational vision so clearly for employees (i.e., to muralize) that everyone understands the desired end result. With that in mind, they can work “inside the box” to get where they need to go, even if they must creatively stretch some of the boundaries to get there.
6. Another important comparison in your book is the difference between "lifters" and "leaners"! Give us a definition and help our readers to differentiate the two.
Lifters are the people whose commitment, intelligence, energy, and stamina are at the forefront of organizational success. Their energy is contagious. They are the ones who tirelessly “figure it out,” raise the bar, and, in the process, inspire others to become part of a winning team.
Conversely, Leaners know what they are supposed to do, but choose not to do it consistently, or well. For an experienced group of employees who should be able to produce much with little management, they produce too little and require too much managing to get it. Their bad habits are infectious.
Problematically, many leaners are promotional blockers for up and coming lifters. Unless this is appropriately managed, the lifters leave for better opportunities and the leaners stay - precisely the reverse of what the organization needs.
Picture a group of highway workers leaning on their shovels on the side of a highway. As the boss’s truck approaches, the word quickly goes down the line and the shovels begin digging. However, as soon as the truck goes over the hill, the leaning resumes. Motivated workers are quickly advised to conform to the norm or face the consequences. This either perpetuates bad habits or encourages termination. How often does this happen in organizations every day?
You have to dive into the reasons for this kind of behavior (see monarchs vs. muralists above), but the problem is greater than most people know. Employee engagement surveys reveal that more people actually classify themselves as disengaged (unproductively on the payroll, or leaners) than highly engaged (lifters who exert extra effort and spend discretionary time to help their organizations reach their objectives). However, the majority of employees could go either way. This is why management matters and why better leadership is needed.
At the end of the game, the team with the most lifters usually wins.
7. The "Leadership Compass" you publish in Chapter 20 is innovative and a great teaching tool. Without taking away from the book, briefly tell us what the compass can tell us about ourselves or others.
Thanks for the nice words about the Leadership Compass. I have been using this for over twenty years. It works on two levels.
First, it helps a manager to evaluate the talent/contribution of their employees. Lifters are most critical, of course, because while they are the most valuable employees, they are also the most fragile. They need continuing challenges and occasional reinforcement of their value. They are the employees your competitors are looking for. Besides the lifters, the manager also identifies their Leaners, Learners, and employees on Life Support. The key for managers is to develop a plan for each employee specific to their place on the Compass, to help them either move up in the organization, or out of it. Either is a good result.
The second step is to calculate the performance rating of the entire organization and compare it to the model of a highly performing organization. I have never seen this concept expressed before, but from my experience the process works very well because it requires managers to take a critically introspective look at their organization, and then develop a holistic plan of action to a) develop more lifters; b) to either re-invigorate or remove leaners; c) to provide training and development to support the learners; and d) to deal with those on life support to free up places for candidates better equipped to become lifters.
8. How much have the teachings of servant-leadership influenced your philosophy and writing?
Frankly, while I have read articles about servant-leadership, my philosophy and management style were well established when “Daring to Be Different, A Manager’s Ascent To Leadership” was written. However, I do find it encouraging to see that others are using different labels to describe a similar philosophy and style of management that I believe is critical for organizations who understand that success does not come from “doing more with less,” but from “getting more from more.”
Thanks Greg for your questions and the opportunity to express my views in weLEAD.
Interviewed by Greg Thomas Jim Hatherley has been a manager and leader for a Fortune 150 Company for over 25 years. His inspiration to write "Daring To Be Different" actually came from employees who convinced him that managers, and their employees, could significantly benefit from understanding his approach to managing. Told that over 90% of management booksGreg L. Thomas Other
Peter Senge, MIT professor and author of The Fifth Discipline, said:
“No one in the past 30 years has had a more profound impact on thinking about leadership than Robert Greenleaf.”
Robert Greenleaf, author of the classic series of essays on the theme “the servant as leader,” was a powerful advocate of mentoring. In The Power of Servant Leadership, edited by Larry Spears, Robert Greenleaf proposed that there are psychic rewards to be gained by oldsters who take the time and trouble to mentor the young to become servant-leaders.
He stated, “What could bring more satisfaction to oldsters than helping some of the young to become servant-leaders?” (page 54)
As an oldster himself at the time of his writing, he saw the need for a more caring society, but had little confidence that many of the leaders of his generation would actually meet the challenge. He was definitely not persuaded that much progress toward a caring society would “be initiated by those who are now established as leaders.” He stated that he did “not expect much” from his contemporaries. (page 53)
Robert Greenleaf saw that once an individual rose to a position of power and influence with a nonservant mindset, it would probably take a metanoia (a profound transformation or conversion) to change such a leader into a true servant-leader. He stated:
“For the older ones among us who are ‘in charge,’ nothing short of a ‘peak’ experience, like religious conversion…seems to have much chance of converting a confirmed nonservant into an affirmative servant.” (page 23)
Although many influential leaders consider themselves effective mentors and servant-leaders, the fruits often do not bear this out. Often the person who is energized and inspired to be an able mentor of the young is not a person of great formal power and influence. In fact, a very successful mentor is likely to be one who has not risen to the top within his or her organization, but has remained in a lower level position in order to have greater access to young people.
Superiors may consider these effective mentors as oddballs. This is because such persons may not want to conform to the organization’s culture and rise to a position of prominence. Many organizational cultures place little value on truly growing people and helping young people internalize a lifestyle of service. You can see this in academia, where senior faculty may pay lip service to mentoring junior faculty and students, but in reality there is a spirit of competition and a “scarcity mentality” driven by self-interest. Institutional rewards often go to those most driven by such self-interest, rather than recognizing and rewarding those who are highly effective mentors.
Able mentors often prefer to spend their time and energy preparing and inspiring the next generation to become effective mentors and servant-leaders. They see their mentees as those who will become the builders of more serving institutions in the future. These visionary mentors are often very talented at growing people. They are driven by a vision of the future. They believe that there is tremendous psychic reward in giving themselves to make a difference in the lives of others.
Robert Greenleaf provided this striking example in an address he made to a gathering of university students: (page 102– The Power of Servant Leadership)
“Thomas Jefferson had such a mentor in George Wythe, the Williamsburg lawyer under whom Jefferson apprenticed. Without the influence of George Wythe, there might not have been a Jefferson to write The Declaration of Independence or draft the statutes in Virginia that shaped the Constitution. He might have settled for the role of eccentric Virginia scholar. Find such a mentor if you can.”
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About the author:
Dr. Howard Baker is Director of Education for INSPIRE! Learning Systems. He holds a B.S. in Management from Samford University, a Master of Accounting (MAcc) from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Texas at Arlington. He has been a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) since 1989. He is an adjunct professor in both Business Administration and Public Administration at the University of Texas at Tyler. Dr. Baker is a lifetime charter member of weLEAD and the founding editor of the weLEADInLearning web site’s E-Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership located atwww.weleadinlearning.org. His weLEAD email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Senge, MIT professor and author of The Fifth Discipline, said: “No one in the past 30 years has had a more profound impact on thinking about leadership than Robert Greenleaf.” Robert Greenleaf, author of the classic series of essays on the theme “the servant as leader,” was a powerful advocate of mentoring. In The Power of Servant LeadBy Dr. Howard Baker Articles Other
Leadership Unbound is a unusual book because of its format and the diversity of its two authors. Larry Corbett is a pastor and religious leader with experience serving in 6 congregations. His experience working in a nonprofit organization gives him a distinctive perspective of leadership. Jerre Stead has experience as a CEO and board member.
Previously he served in executive positions with the Square D Company, AT&T’s Global Business Communications, the Legent Corporation and Ingram Micro. His experience working in the free market business environment also gives him a distinctive perspective of leadership. Together these two authors from different backgrounds and business cultures have written a book to compare and expound on their experiences.
The purpose of the book is to guide the reader to “Begin a successful enterprise, whether in business or the church, to guide success”. In eight chapters, Leadership Unbound attempts to take the reader through the steps a leader must navigate, beginning with a vision, values, planning, building and maintaining. It also outlines how the role of leadership changes as the organization grows.
The format of the book is simply a series of statements or ideas presented to initiate discussion. Each statement is answered individually by Larry and Jerre. Often the discussion goes back and forth as they build on each other’s personal examples and career perspective. Each chapter and discourse ends with a group of planning questions designed to stimulate your thinking and strategy. It is interesting to note that not only do they have some different approaches to successful leadership; they also share some common practices and principles. One of these is the knowledge that everyorganization needs superior leadership to flourish and grow strong. Leadership Unbound is a solid publication that looks at leading from a different angle. Sometimes the interaction between the authors on certain subjects seems disconnected. However, if you have a special interest in the distinctions between for profit and nonprofit leaders (or secular and religious), this may be the book you are looking for.
Five Star Publications - 2005 (185 pages in paperback)
weLEAD rating – recommended
Leadership Unbound is a unusual book because of its format and the diversity of its two authors. Larry Corbett is a pastor and religious leader with experience serving in 6 congregations. His experience working in a nonprofit organization gives him a distinctive perspective of leadership. Jerre SteadAuthors Lawrence W. Corbett and Jerre L. Stead Book Review Other
- Employee engagement
- Employee motivation
- Leadership Development
- Leadership Principles
- Leadership Styles
- Leadership Tips
- Management development
- Organizational Culture
- Organizational Design
- Organizational leadership
- Personal leadership
- Sales Techniques
- Servant leadership
- Transformational leadership
- Workplace Challenges