Let’s face it, the word leader or leadership has essentially been stripped of all meaning. We ruined it.
How? Because we spent the last 20 years plastering our workplace with it. Managers became leaders. Supervisors became leaders. Executives became leaders. We were like a 3 year old with a sticker book sticking our “leader” stickers on every surface that we could.
Look, I understand that managers, supervisors and executives SHOULD be leaders. After all that’s why we started calling them leaders. But not all of them got the memo. In fact, most of them have no leadership skills other than the inspirational quote framed on their office wall. You know the one that makes them feel better about being a sh*tty boss.... So what can we do about this problem we created? We just spent years telling average managers that they are business leaders. Do we strip them of the title? “Sorry Bob, you are no longer our Process Improvement Leader. We are changing your title back to Head of Micro-Management.” That won’t be good for Bob’s ego will it? He knows people hate micro-management! That’s why he became a leader! So that he could feel better about all the micro-managing he does on a daily basis. You know, since he was doing it from a “leadership“ position.
So this year I have only one holiday wish. That people across industry wake up and see the need for massive leadership reform. Some real reflection on what it is we are doing to people, yes PEOPLE; our employees.
I define leadership as a responsibility to create environments. the right environment allows people to flourish, the wrong one and they will fail. It’s a huge responsibility. And let’s face it, it isn’t easy. Not only do leaders require training, they must become daily practitioners of it. Leadership is a practice, not a weekend seminar at a Best Western.
So it is time for leadership reform. Like anything else, leadership requires innovation. New ideas and new perspectives. The way we work is shifting. The way we interact as employees is evolving. The way we lead needs to keep pace!
So put your sticker book away and make leadership meaningful again.