Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where's the leadership?

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what effective performance means in the workplace. Does it emanate from leadership? What happens if employees lack a leader to guide them? Are they still responsible for performing, and getting things done?

Maybe my recent fascination with leadership stems from my reading books, like David McCullough's biography of John Adams. Maybe it's a result of coming to the realization that the same tools required to be a good coach in athletics, also have relevance in the workplace.

Is work all about production, and getting things done? Yeah, basically, I think it comes down to that. I also think commanding respect with subordinates also goes a long way in the office.

Interestingly, as someone who has made his living on the private side of the fence, at least until this gig, I’m amazed by some of the malaise, as well as lack of urgency coming from some of the so-called leaders (not to mention, lack of clear direction) that I rub elbows with, at some non-profits, agencies, and other organizations.

This article, by Steve Lopez, in the LA Times (linked from a blog post) exemplifies the hubris that far too many public servants possess. In all fairness, many of the former managers I worked for on the private side were also in love with their own dysfunctional management styles, to the detriment of those of us that sat under them, so it's not limited only to the public side of things.

I’m fortunate to be working for someone that models leadership, so I know it’s possible to find it on the public side; I’ve also found numerous examples of men and women exemplifying sound leadership, in guiding their staffs, across Central/Western Maine.

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