Any label that could be equally applied to Mother Theresa, Hitler, your CEO, Kim Jong-un, Mandela, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Pope Francis, is in need of some polishing. That is leadership: the art of making others follow you, forgive me the slightly unsophisticated definition.
Leadership is a praxis. Something that some people practice, more than learn, or teach, or that has a solid, unique foundation.
As praxis, leadership is amoral. It’s only good or bad, positive or negative, depending on what the leader does and how.
As leaders, you bring the ethics to the praxis, the moral jacket to the naked amoral practice. Once you are practicing, the practice is not neutral anymore. You can’t get away with preposterous ‘It’s not me, it’s the system’, or ‘ It’s not me, I am representing the company’. People using these don’t deserve to be leaders.
‘The ethics’, of course, are not just personal. They include the values of the system, what is expected, accepted, tolerated or nurtured. By the way, these four words are not equal.
The elephant in the room in Leadership (studies) is that the term is a host for a myriad of interpretations and logic. Perhaps my superficial definition above, ‘the art of making others follow you’ is as far as one can go when trying to look at commonalities between ‘leaders’. Of course I am in caricature mode here. But it is impossible to continue talking about ‘leadership’ as a well understood, you-know-what-I-mean concept. In that respect it is like parenthood, the art of bringing up children, do-you-know-what-I-mean? No, actually I don’t, because it includes loving parenting and child abusers.
I am stretching it. If I didn’t, I would not be writing these Daily Thoughts.
Some labels don’t help. ‘Failure of leadership’, for example, as a diagnosis, is as robust as ‘discontinuation of energy based in charged particles’ do define a power cut in the house.
In discussing praxis, as opposed to theories or attributes or traits, the key is the behavioural translation: what is that people did, or did not do and what happened as a result. I know, quite prosaic, but it’s a start.
For more thoughts on Leadership…
Old traditional management thinking will be unsuitable to win in the post Covid-19 scenario. Maybe it’s time to run the organization ‘under new management’.
Watch our webinar on The Myths of Management
Maybe it’s time to run the organization ‘under new management’. We have been running enterprises with very tired concepts of empowerment, ownership, accountability and other little challenged pillars. The truth is that there is mythology embedded in all those concepts. Old traditional management thinking will be unsuitable to win in the post Covid-19 scenario. So, what will the ‘new management’ look like? Which elephants do we need to see in the management room?
What attendees said:
‘Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this fantastic webinar. Both the depth of the discussion between Leandro and Carlos and the very intensive exchange in the chat inspired me.’
‘It was a great pleasure to participate in today’s webinar…. If you would have been sitting next to me, you would have seen a lot of ‘head nodding’ and heard a couple of loud ‘yes’es’ from the bottom of my heart.’