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Whatever Happened to the "Leader" in Leadership?

I've worked for numerous organizations in a variety of industries, and it continues to amaze me that organizational challenges continue to be the same across the board.

The biggest challenge to organizational success today is lack of leadership. Companies that continue to operate using ineffective leaders will face increasing challenges both internally, as well as externally to the organization. An ineffective leader who lacks vision will fail to rally the troops, and will be met with numerous marketplace challenges as well as dissent from the internal ranks.

What accounts for this lack of leadership skill, vision and insight? In the 1980's, the bestselling book "In Search of Excellence" offered breakthrough ideas in terms of how companies could succeed. Today, a plethora of books and articles on the subject of business and leadership success continue to infiltrate the market. There's no lack of information and strategy out there, just a lack of willpower to implement the ideas that form the foundation of great companies.

Jim Collins "Good to Great" and "Built to Last" offer strategies on how to build and maintain great companies. Biographies of successful business leaders continue to inspire us and add new dimensions to our thinking. Magazines such as Fast Company offer innovative ways in which to inject a sense of creativity, imagination and inspiration into otherwise dull and lifeless organizations.

So, with all this information and resource base out there, why do I continue to see companies who a) fail to inspire employees through lack of vision, leadership and an inability to "care" about their employees b) refuse to correct their ways in spite of toxic work environments resulting in significant losses of intellectual capital and  c) companies that are so disorganized that even senior management is disconnected to the day to day activities of the organization?

Although there may be some companies who operate in a different realm - those who are fortunate enough to have real thought leaders at the helm who are able to inspire employees (if you are one of these companies or leaders please talk to me - I would love to work for you!), I believe that most companies in the business world just don't care. This lack of caring goes way beyond the confines of the building. It extends to shareholders and customers, and the customers customers.

I'd love to share your ideas and experiences. In the meantime, I'll continue my journey "In Search of Excellence" - wherever that may lead me.

Excellence

Comments

Karen Hegmann

Hi Lewis

I like the way you added an "inspirational" component to the job of an effective leader. If inspiration isn't coming from the top, how are the middle ranks supposed to be inspired?
It might help if leaders would take a walk around the company once in a while to chat with employees. Otherwise, the "silo" mentality will prevail and ideas will remain hidden within those walls.

Lewis Green

Karen,

You are so right. Way too many leaders act like managers and don't seem to recognize the difference. Leaders Inspire, Motivate and create cultures in which all people do their best work.

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