Context matters! A lot of leaders sometimes falsely assume that because they are successful in one context, they will automatically be successful in another leadership context. Leadership experience and skills are not always transferable because what worked in one context will not always work in another. It is important as a leader to know what contexts you thrive in. There are some contexts that play to your strengths and you are superstar when you operate in such contexts but there are some contexts that you lack the experience and skills to function effectively.
What are your motives for leading or wanting to lead? Are you recognition-driven or contribution-driven? Recognition-driven leaders usually put their self interests before that of the organisation or the team. Such leaders’ selfish desire for power and glory takes precedence whereas contribution-driven leaders submit their self interests to serve the organization or team they lead. Robert Greenleaf referred to such selfless leaders as servant leaders.
According to John Maxwell, effective leadership is based on maximising influence. The moment a leader loses credibility, his influence starts to diminish. There has been a lot of furore in the British football scene over John Terry. In the last 2 weeks, the papers have been busy with allegations about his adultery. He has been accused of having an affair with one of his English team mates’ girlfriend. This has not gone down well with the general public and Terry has been repeatedly booed by opposition club supporters. His football club, Chelsea, has however given their full support and backing to their embattled captain. His credibility as England’s national captain has been tarnished and his refusal to resign has led to his sacking as the captain of the national team.
Today’s entry focuses on the 57 minutes I spent watching Carly Fiorina’s talk about her book, Tough Choices. I am keen to read the book now based on the content of this talk. She had already been ousted from HP at the time of this talk so it was nice to see her reflect on her career and life experience. She said some interesting things on leadership, change and organisational culture which are worthy of meditation and implementation in your organization.
A leader is only as effective as the quality of the team members he surrounds himself with. The achievement of a dream is based on the quality of the team working on it. Barack Obama’s campaign success is based on several factors but having a great team by his side helped him secure the White House.
I am currently reading “Playing the Enemy” by John Carlin which has been made into a movie called Invictus by Clint Eastwood. The book focuses on how Nelson Mandela uses the game of rugby in 1995 to unite a divided nation when he became the President of South Africa. The book is an interesting read but one leadership lesson I derived from it was the power of empathy.
Tom Peters and Robert Waterman Jr in their business classic “In search of excellence” popularised the term ‘Management by Wandering Around’ (MBWA). In their book, Peters and Waterman encouraged leaders to venture out of their offices by spending a significant amount of their time visiting and listening to their employees in both global and local locations. Such visits will allow leaders gather the necessary qualitative and insightful information required to steer the ship and communicate the vision to everyone in the organisation.