Is anything right with leadership today? I am totally overwhelmed by the number of people talking about the leadership crisis that we are currently experiencing. This is a global conversation that’s going on in both the public and private sector. The long-term forecast is it’s going to get much worse before it gets better, because of the actions that have brought us to the economic and socially responsible upheavals that cover our daily headlines.
Sometimes we must seek to find humor in pain. For many of us it’s the only way to maintain our mental composure. It’s a mental protection system. You probably can stop and picture when you have done this yourself. We even have habitual phrases we use for situations like: “I meant to do that,” or “That’s going to leave a mark,” or “It’s not the fall but the sudden stop that hurts.” In all of those phrases you can almost see the pain. Oh, I am cringing as I write this.
Yesterday we received an email that was very funny and also reflected a lot of pain. It was obvious the sender was trying to use humor to replace the pain and salvage some sanity. I am going to show it to you in a moment but I want to give you some context to best put it in perspective.
The following is from an interview Steve Coomer had with Professor Henry Mintzberg. The excerpt below was taken from the discussion regarding what it takes to be an effective manager and why an MBA is not necessarily part of that equation.
You suggest that the dominance of the MBA as an educational standard has corrupted managerial practice. Why is that?
Well, because you have people coming out thinking they are prepared to manage, and they are not. And what is even worse you get people coming out who don’t even go into management, they go into consulting or finance. They do an end run around management and end up leaping from consulting jobs, or financial jobs, into chief executive chairs. And I think the performance of many of them is just plain dreadful. There are exceptions, but a lot of them fail terribly.
But what is it about an MBA education which you believe often makes people ill equipped to be leaders in corporations?
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ALBEMARLE, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say two North Carolina high school cafeteria employees have been arrested and accused of trying to poison their boss’ tea. The Stanly County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Angela Johnson and 64-year-old Eileen Hallamore were charged Tuesday with distributing food containing poison. Authorities say their investigation started last month after the county board of education reported a poisoning attempt at South Stanly High School in Norwood. No students were involved. Deputies have not said how the poisoning was discovered or what may have motivated the women. It was not clear if the women have attorneys. They are due in court April 25.
The Next Question You Ask →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I am not sure how we got this way. I think it’s from two generations of leaders taking too-much-to-heart the old adage: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I think we have lost sight of what the “it” in that sentence is supposed to refer to. As your high school English teacher used to say, the pronoun “it” in this case has a vague antecedent. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Throughout the course of my working career, which goes back to the age of 15 when I worked in a transmission shop owned by a friend’s Dad, leaders have created the working conditions that I was subjected to. Some had positive employee engagement, some not so good. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Is your company plagued with co-worker versus co-worker or leadership versus employee disagreements and petty hostilities? Just because you don’t openly see the workplace conflict doesn’t mean it isn’t present. In many organizations these things are under the surface and live in a passive-aggressive form. In either case, whether apparent or not there are some steps you can take to deal with damaging and unproductive conflicts in the workplace. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I hope it might be instructive to share my own lesson with you.
30 Years ago yet seems like yesterday
It happened over 30 years ago. I remember it well. I was 20 then. College student. Enrolled in Naval ROTC. Training to become a leader in the Marine Corps as a Marine officer upon graduation. Each summer, we ROTC students went through various sorts of military training. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
If you received this call, knowing it’s the holiday season, what would you do? You would do what you have to do, wouldn’t you. That is what my friend Will did when he received this call the other day. The company he works for has over 600 locations nationwide.
Just think about the savings in payroll that can be added to the bottom line over the 3 week period before the end of the year. That’s exactly what the corporate leadership team thought. But what cost does this type of thinking have on long-term employee engagement? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
A Big Waste of Money
Despite the big investments in leadership development, many organizations continue to experience conflict, mistrust, resistance, low morale and de-motivation – signs that leadership has no impact on the organization … either the leadership style is inappropriate or people are not willing to engage with it.
Theory Changes Nada
We all know theory changes nothing (even if you spend Billions more). It’s action that makes the difference. Action occurs when you can apply methods that enable leadership to be viewed as a partnership between the leader and the led. When employees are willing to engage and take ownership for being led rather than sitting back and expecting the team leader to be solely responsible for leading the results are phenomenal.
Joint Responsibility →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading