The term leadership has always intrigued me. The term is so nuanced. Organizations can appoint leaders but true leadership must be earned. Every organization has both formal and informal leaders. A formal leader has the power but the informal leaders wield influence. Organizations spend a great amount of time an effort creating leadership pools. In essence a list of promotable individuals in a succession planning schedule to fill leadership positions as they become available.
Today it’s not as typical to see leaders rise from the bottom ranks of an organization. It’s also not uncommon for an individual to be identified as future leader prior to the first day on the job. This non-organic rise through the ranks can lead to gaps in the managerial development. This can lead to the creation of “yes” teams or managerial drones, which stifles critical conversation, an organizational excellence.
Fortunately some progressive companies hold intelligent disobedience training classes to insure bad ideals; visions and plans are not carried out without crucial debate. This training provides a road map of how and when to challenge an ideal or directive. In essence how to tactfully tell the King, he has no cloths.
One example of intelligent disobedience is Seeing Eye dogs for the blind. These dogs are trained to ignore commands that put the owner in danger.
Do the leaders in your organization welcome honest thoughtful debate? Do you have leaders that wield power, influence and credibility?
John Maxwell once said, “Your not a leader if no one is following you.”
My favorite definition of leadership is defined by Kevin Cashman in his book” Leadership from the inside out.”
It defines leadership as “Authentic influence that creates value.”
An example of leadership that always resonates with me is from the movie “We Were Soldiers” starring Mel Gibson. Gibson played Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore who commanded a team of soldiers airlifted behind enemy lines in Vietnam 1965 known as the battle of La Drang.
Colonel Moore said this to his men before battle.
“I can’t promise you that I will bring you all home alive, but this I swear, before you and before Almighty God: when we go into battle, I will be the first one to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together. So help me God”
Imagine what the captains of industry could learn from this great leader. Just think of the organizational synergy that would create!