There is a delicate balance in leadership. I see the struggle play out regularly. It seems to me we’ve evolved our collective corporate lives into something very different from our personal ones. In so doing, we leave behind the messages of support we tell our friends and family, being there for them, and forgiving them when they make an honest mistake.
In the world of work, we’ve created cultures that are far too often risk averse, mired in negativity and have our team members worried about making even the slightest mistake.
This simply can not be. Our hyper-competitive world simply will not survive under the weight of an old school command and control management style.
Beware the New World
As the corporate world begins to open it’s eyes to the possibilities of a new way to work (and more and more old school leaders retire) we are beginning to see real change take place.
What hasn’t changed however are the pressures and expectations on leaders to deliver. In fact, the corporate post-recession business model seems to be focused on a new obsession with “do more with less.”
This simply can not be. I’m a huge fan of efficiency…and don’t mind going through some pain to achieve it. But simply being “nicer” while having an underlying my-way-or-the-highway leadership style is candidly a huge fail. Huge. Fail.
Temptations Are Everywhere
Power is what most often seems to get in the way of good work. As the pressure from the senior leadership team flows down, the middle managers have no choice but to succumb to the culture that has been established.
“Culture is what senior leaders do, not what they say, or post on a plaque, or put in a press release. Yes, words are powerful…but action is culture.”
Yet it is so hard to resist the trappings of power, and authority and a fancy job title to make sure good work gets done! When the desire to wrap oneself in their ego drives decision-making because “they know their view is the correct one” then it’s time to call it a day. None of us have all the answers. But collectively all of us do.
Are you with me?
How About You
The culture chase is a tricky one. On one hand we in leadership have an incredible opportunity to transform our organizations. On the other, we have the opportunity to create chaos. Just so we’re all clear, chaos is bad. Right?
Jay Kuhns is a human resources executive, leadership coach, speaker, consultant and is the author of Unstoppable Power, Leverage Energy, Risk and Relationships and Advance Your Leadership Career. He is a “Type A” leader who understands that human resources leadership is about high energy, creativity, strong personal connections and making changes that push organizations forward.