Sunday, July 22, 2007

What's New Copy Cat...

A few weeks ago, I was at a conference in Orlando and was cornered into defining what I thought leaders did that added value.

I said, "I think it has to do with recognizing and working within the themes that leaders encounter while exercising their leadership responsibilities" that’s the best I could come up with.

I didn’t mean it to be purposely vague, but I don’t know any other way to say it and I would rather leave an honest mess that requires more work than a tidy lie that seems complete.

What I don’t believe is that leaders add value by looking back at all of the apparently perfect step that an industry trail blazer has made over a long and successful career and then distilling those steps into a formula of behavior. While emulating the description of successful leaders may make you look like a successful leader, I don’t think it will make you a successful leader.

If it were that easy, then we wouldn't have so much poor leadership and we wouldn't be embarrassed to say, "I work for a great leader."

I’ll bet a dollar that if you heard someone utter those words, you would think one of two thoughts: that person is a pushover or they belong to a brainwashing cult.

If it were that easy, then we wouldn't have to wait for the history books to tell us who the great leaders where, past tense.

If you don’t believe me, take this short test. Using your knowledge of the characteristics of any set of leaders, prominently positioned in the public’s eye, who is going to be this countries next great leader?

If it were that easy, then so many of the leaders who ascribe to this mythology; who practice what they have been taught; who have the best intentions and desires to enable their organization's success would not find themselves hard pressed to find followers willing to commit to a vision beyond the promise of a steady paycheck.

As I said at the beginning, I think it has to do with recognizing and working within the themes that leaders encounter while exercising their leadership responsibilities.

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Take care and enjoy...

John