Leadership lessons from great leaders
A recent book from Lee Iacocca reminds me of the issues pertaining to leadership in America today. In his, book “Where have all the Leaders Gone? Mr. Iacocca reminds us of the ethical issues inherent in our system and challenges leaders to make amends. Greed and narcissism take hold in our society and change must follow. Leaders today use too many freedoms that create too much separation from the employees.
I recently rang off with a client who indicates to me required cost cutting given today’s economic upheaval. Items such as cup sizes; pens, pencils, space allocation etc are all under review. Yet most interesting executive bonuses, salaries, and benefits remain. Leaders today must be examples not narcissists. Being a leader requires being an example to all not one above the rest.
In the late 90’s, Colin Powell provided insight on a book on leadership in which he states, “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off”. Agreed, but leadership is about trust and respect, little exists when employees are continually annoyed. Attrition increases and morale too. When productivity lacks, who really must be accountable? Leaders today must constantly strive to challenge the employees and the system. The “ain't broke don’t fix it” rule is not longer applicable. The days of the status quo ended and individuals and the culture as a whole must change to remain competitive.
Leaders need to act in harmony with employees and ensure equal treatment of all. Cultures where this practice occurs frequently include McDonalds, Fed Ex and UPS where employees and management are one. Why is it that some leaders build a culture of enthusiasm and energy and others self-fulfillment? Herb Kelleher, Steve Jobs, and others all exist to build a culture based on output to the employee and customer. Businesses suffer when leadership exists in a chasm. Businesses must emphasize focus for the customer.
Finally, leadership requires oversight and there exists little. Oversight committees and boards must help leaders change methods. Avarice does not assist stakeholder’s only self. Metaphorically, leaders must regain their site on the ball and stop stranding stakeholders and employees in sand traps. Organizational life is not an individual sport, it requires, moxie, persistence and a team effort.
About Contributor – Drew Stevens Ph.D. Drew Stevens PhD works with organizations that struggle with productivity that effects profits. Dr. Drew works with senior officers and their direction reports to dramatically increase relationships that build higher morale. He can be reached through his website at www.stevensconsultinggroup.com. 2008. Drew J. Stevens All rights reserved.