Displaying items by tag: leadership
Thursday, 18 July 2013 11:27

Accountability Leadership Video

Published in Video
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 16:33

Leaders: Bullies or Big-shots?

It’s not that successful leaders have an absence of fear. Rather, successful leaders find the courage to move through the fear and take calculated risks; potentially inspiring great innovation and creativity. However, leaders will be unable to truly unleash this potential within their organisations, if they unwittingly crush employee contributions with control and negative consequences.

Unfortunately in many corporate cultures, risk taking behaviour is difficult for most individuals who fear the repercussions of mistakes and failure and choose a path that minimises potential undesirable consequences. Unlike leaders, whose power and position affords a level of manoeuvring that can bounce back from mistakes, for employees, there is potentially more at stake, and failure can mean a demotion or termination.

How can a leader encourage the free flow of ideas and innovation and unleash employees from fear?

In a perfect, world, a leader would strive to strike a balance between leadership control and freedom for employees, by modelling characteristics such as acceptance and tolerance. But we know the world is far from perfect. Some of our most successful leaders defy the new western norms of acceptable workplace behaviour and are accused of bullying, but nevertheless manage to maintain the support of their employees – albeit tenuous.

Often, for reasons difficult to fathom, obvious genius negates bad behaviour. For example, Walter Isaacson, in his biography of Steve Jobs, posthumously labelled him a bully of sorts. Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I committed egregious acts of violence that included stabbing a servant with a fork for sloppy dinner service; Gordon Brown, the ex-U.K. Prime Minister, according to reports in the media has a typically “Scottish” temper; and there is no need to mention the humbling of many a politician who dared to challenge the will of the “The Iron Lady”, Margaret Thatcher. Winston Churchill’s irascibility could be rationalised as part of the territory for a war-time leader, although his demand of a weary secretary after hours of dictation to “go on like gun-horses, till we drop” seems a little extreme. The U.S. President, Lyndon B Johnson, was rumoured to roll over while in bed with his secretary to declare, “Move over, your President needs you!”

These accounts are by no means an endorsement of a strategy of fear or wanton bullying. It is a recognition that leaders who tend to migrate to bullying behaviour when things get tough, might be well advised to ensure that their leadership genius and success is on a scale large enough to compensate for their less than perfect leadership traits.

Steve Jobs; Walter Isaacson

Sorry, Bullies Often Make the Best Leaders: The Daily Mail


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