Today, we continue to have a few great leaders, some pretty good leaders, and bucket loads of people in positions of authority who are mediocre, incompetent, or worse at leadership, according to Roxi Bahar Hewertson in her book Lead Like it Matters…Because it Does: Practical Leadership Tools to Inspire and Engage Your People and Create Great Results. Even though we know that leaders have a significant impact on people’s lives and well-being, we allow them to operate in their sphere of influence without having to prove that they have the skill set or the integrity to lead anyone anywhere.
When the four biggest advertisers in the Toad Hollow Gazette band together to demand a big cut to the newspaper’s advertising rates, the newspaper’s publisher, Hedgehog, is left with an awkward dilemma of the type faced by many business leaders in the face of digital disruption and the other forces which are making it harder to run a profitable business. The outcome of Hedgehog’s dilemma is described in the allegory by Jen Lawrence and Larry Chester, Engage the Fox: A Business Fable About Thinking Critically and Motivating Your Team.
Most businesspeople know how to manage their business down to the last product requirement and decimal place, but they don’t know how to lead their people with the same degree of sophistication, according to Timothy Thomas and Charles Tilden in their book Leading on Purpose: Sage Advice and Practical Tools for Becoming the Complete Leader. Star performers often race ahead of the people problems they leave in their wake, until they reach a point where their continued success depends on leadership skills they do not possess.
Moxie is the essence of what makes a leader tough on the inside and soft on the outside; these people know what it means to get knocked down, but better still they know how to get back up; they also stick up for others, especially when the chips are down, and you want them on your side, and lucky for you, they most often are, according to John Baldoni in his book Moxie: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.
Your team members are creative and intelligent and want to make a difference; you can give them the permission they need to do this, according to Maxine Attong in her book Lead Your Team To Win: Achieve Optimal Performance by Providing a Safe Space for Employees. Embracing this concept will enable you to shift your leadership style, which will further your own goals and ultimately benefit your team’s performance.
Many of the problems that midsized companies must deal with are not obvious; these problems grow out of sight, unrecognised by management until they emerge as full-blown crises that can threaten the present and future of the business, according to Robert Sher in his book Mighty Mid-Sized Companies: How Leaders Overcome 7 Silent Growth Killers.
Francis may be a self-described “sinner”, but he is, without question, the right man for the right job at the right time; and the planets seldom align themselves as neatly as they have for this modest yet brilliant figure, according to Jeffrey Krames in his book Lead With Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis. The author even describes Francis as the anti-Hitler, the twenty-first century’s answer to the twentieth century’s most malevolent mass murderer.
Focusing is important, but sometimes noticing is better, at least when you are making critical decisions, according to Max Bazerman in his book The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See. If you are naturally inclined to focus on what you are doing, then periodically you should take a break, remove your blinders, and notice all the valuable information around you.
Too often, leadership is a Faustian bargain. Most leadership experts play off your ego. Few actually help shape your ego, which must be neither too large nor too small in order to manage effectively and to get out with your soul intact, according to Rob Ashgar in his book Leadership is Hell: How to Manage Well – And Escape with Your Soul. The book aims to help the reader find the right balance for his or her own life.
Leadership requires crafting an agenda, working in a deeply political world and working closely with other people. Schools do not teach this. Business school fails dismally to teach this, and most corporate training swings wildly between technical training (accounting and systems) and tree hugging, raft building and team building on the other side, according to Jo Owen in the book The Leadership Skills Handbook: 50 Essential Skills You Need to Be a Leader.