Professors James Kouzes and Barry Posner have written a little gem of a book recently titled The Truth about Leadership. It’s filled with wisdom and down to earth realities taken from their years of research on leadership. It’s not Hollywood’s version of leadership, or the Gordon Gecko version of leadership, but the down home, no BS, from the heart, practical version of leadership. It’s worth a read, especially for young MBAs and Entrepreneurs with ambition to accomplish something meaningful with their business careers.
Over a period of 30+ years of interacting with senior executive teams to improve strategy execution and help build high performance cultures, I’ve looked for, and found, some simple truths about leadership and organizational life at the top that ring true for me.
Here are a few of my favourite:
- It’s more effective to celebrate little wins along the way than to wait for the final score.
- Organizations are shadows of their leaders, that’s the good news and the bad news.
- The work of the senior team is to eliminate obstacles so the organization can deliver on its strategic objectives.
- No one of us is as smart as all of us.
- There is no strategy without execution and there is no execution without leadership.
- Less than 50% of the senior executive team has read the entire business strategy (most just read the overall goals and their functional section).
- Most leadership teams are compensated to deliver functional goals, not to deliver on the corporate strategy. And we wonder why it’s not a team at the top.
- Leaders have two ears and one mouth and should use them in that proportion.
- Multidisciplinary teams solve problems faster and more elegantly than a handful of subject matter experts.
- Less than half the senior team can recite the company values accurately.
- Business skills might get you there, but people skills will keep you there.
- Most leaders aren’t.
- Most leaders attend too many meeting and don’t make time for quality thinking.
- Good leaders are always open to new ways to improve the company; it’s a part of their DNA.
- Good leaders say NO without killing the spirit behind the idea.
Send me some of your “truths” about leadership and I’ll add them to my blog.
Tight Lines . . .