Monday, August 1, 2011

Leadership

I'm doing some reading and some experiencing, keeping my eyes open for the concept of leadership.

One can see leadership as a combination of visibility and confidence. This seems to work out pretty well, as an observation in arrears. Leaders who are successful often have high visibility and make decisions with a high confidence that things will work out well.

When leadership works, I see it as the leader understanding the team and promoting the team by  improving the teams alignment with the hierarchy of the company and its customers, making use of the team's strengths, and helping . Such a path seems to grow confidence, and the success gives visibility to the team and its leaders. This is the slow, steady path.

I see some leaders succeed by other means, some seeming rather virtuous and others less so. I'm particularly critical of those who see leadership as wresting authority from others though political games and social manipulation. Such leaders may actually inspire confidence, since the leader is seen as growing in influence and respect. It may bring such a leader up the hierarchy quickly, but will also tend to give the leader a shaky support base. For such a person, support is something comes from the hierarchy and the role of follower must be inflicted on competitors. It is a quick path, but the innate self-centeredness competitiveness may result in a very unpopular position and many enemies.

A juvenile view of leadership is that it is about being seen and telling others what to do; a starring role with the hierarchy and team as supporting cast. This seldom translates into the kind of leadership any organization really needs, but is quite reasonable. After all, a leader is visible and has authority.

I'm leaning toward the idea that he leader I want to be is the guy who prepares the way for the team, aligns them with the hierarchy and customers, and looks for ways to help them achieve their goals more fluently.

I'm still most motivated by our B.E.S.T. leadership card. I find it sums up all the best leaders I've known.