207-808-8878 Our book "Life is a Project: How are you managing?" is available!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Real Leaders, for Good or Ill


     I saw this college classmate, Dick, every day back then, but he was not a close buddy. Dick was a member of the football team who rarely got into a game. Academically, he won no honors, as far as I know. He held no important positions. He was not prominent in any way.
     Yet, I’ll never forget him. All these decades later, the message of his example remains strong in my mind. The message: Integrity matters.

     He stays in my memory because he was a straight-shooter in all the daily acts of life. His integrity was routine. Where various of us would bend the rules or evade an obligation when it was safe to do so, Dick never did.
     And on occasion he would quietly remind various of us that we were better than we were acting at that moment. His advice was never offensive, because he offered it respectfully and you respected him, the guy who was living his advice.
     It was years later that it dawned on me: This guy was a leader. His example, and his occasional admonishments, influenced the behavior of those around him. In my case, the effects have lasted a lifetime.

     Negative examples often are more noticeable, and in the short term perhaps more powerful than the positive ones. Authority often is misused, for example, becoming a tool of personal advantage.
     In a democratic system, certainly, authority is granted to facilitate decision-making. It’s a way to get things done. It is very vulnerable to abuse, and we often see those who hold authority using it to force compliance or avoid responsibility.
     When the boss requires you to run household errands for him, you know you’re doing it only because you have to – a workplace price is involved.
     That, too, is leadership. It is a demonstration of behavior by a person holding a position we are expected to respect. It contributes to a mental pattern we develop about such people. We live with it, or perhaps resist – which can earn us unpleasant results of one kind or another.
     The most pervasive of leadership faults is avoidance – failure to engage problems or take actions that would entail discomfort for the decision-maker. When the responsible person refuses to face up to problem people and destructive situations, the damage can be deep and permanent.
     Such a boss usually is not in direct contact with the problem, so can easily remain unconcerned as it bedevils the working staff people every day.

     The decision to evade a tough decision is itself a decision, and the person who behaves that way holds a position of responsibility. Therefore, that person is a leader – someone we are required to follow.
     The concept of leadership can be stripped bare, seen simply as the practice of establishing desired outcomes and enforcing desired behavior. In those terms, it can unbalance the relationship of authority and responsibility, rendering the position ostensibly amoral.
     Yet, every decision-making system is based on some set of ultimate principles, not necessarily high-minded ones.
     If the basic assumptions of the authoritative person are commercial, there will be a dollars-and-cents value system driving the decision-making. If they are humane, matters of organizational importance will be balanced by concern for individuals.
     We all have known people who, somewhat shallow and selfish, generally made decisions that advanced their personal preferences more than the organization’s interests and the welfare of their co-workers.
     My experience has been that, when the working-level managers operate in such fashion, it is evidence their own supervising managers lack the vision and commitment to hire and lead truly effective staff members.
     That makes for a grim experience when someone feels the workplace should support personal growth and meaningful opportunity. I’m sure that opportunity was a hallmark wherever my long-ago acquaintance Dick went to work.
     And the example he set decades ago remains a vivid influence on me, far outlasting the relationship itself.
     Try this: Think about your workplace. What is the behavior of the managers and what effect does it have on the general attitude of the staff members? Post your thoughts as a comment below.

      See also: Little-Things Leadership


  1. From your blog, I've learned some new knowledge about the project management. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I also want to know some helpful information.

  2. I was searching for such a blog about the technical services. Your blog is full of beneficial information. Writing is simple and easy to understand. Thank you and keep it up.

  3. Yout way of deleviring a concept is awesome. I've learned informative knowledge about the Facilities management services. Your writing style is good. Thank you for providing such a valuable information.


  4. This is my favourite topic to search and read on it. Information provied in your blog is useful and beneficial. I also want to read more on the facilities management services. Thank you for the blog. keep writing.

  5. These types of posts are inspiring and everyone wants to read the best quality content and I'm happy to find many good points here which are beneficial about facilities management services, in your post.

  6. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful blog related to facilities managment services. Your blog has the beneficial information. Keep it up.

  7. It is a great and helpful piece of information. I’m happy to find your blog and reading about the hard facilities management services. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I have enjoyed your post. The way you delivered your thoughts, is so good about the facilities management services. Your contribution to this community will be very fruitful to us. Thank you.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful info with us. best smm panel