As I sit here in my shady spot in my flowering backyard, I hear the birds, feel the wind, and watch my cat go crazy running, I think back over a conversation from last night with my nephew, Ken Rion, who is passionate about leading. Leading to motivate, leading to inspire, and leading to choice. He’s one of the new leaders who actually leads, walks his talk, and inspires rather than instills fear in his employees. As my husband and I listened to his creative and passionate ideas, this man, this leader, drew us in, and we were convinced he would lead us to success. I guess you could call him a pied piper of sorts.
Thought leaders today are at odds with the corporate structure and those that claim to be leaders in their industries. What I see are top executives (and this is a broad brush) managing and squeezing humanity out of the work place. Consider this leadership style that is most often used by companies, quoted from a Wall Street Journal article, “Commanding. This is classic model of “military” style leadership – probably the most often used, but the least often effective. Because it rarely involves praise and frequently employs criticism, it undercuts morale and job satisfaction. Mr. Goleman argues it is only effective in a crisis, when an urgent turnaround is needed. Even the modern military has come to recognize its limited usefulness.” This my friends if you have experienced this leadership style (which I don’t really consider leadership at all), is toxic, and part of the old guard. This style is out-moded and unhealthy for the individual and the company. Ooh, I just got a shiver thinking about this because I have experienced this type of “leadership” and I want to run the other way and walk out the door.
I don’t know about you, when we spend over half our life time working, I want to work in a healthy, productive, and fun environment. Just because you have a serious business, doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time. Just look at the TV show MASH. They showed periods of laughter in an insane environment of a medical unit in the Korean War. You must keep laughing or your head will explode.
There’s a new wave out there that is slowing taking form. The new leaders arising are Angela Chang of Creative Leadership in Australia, Jay Bennett of GoRampUp.com, Dan Rockwell who has an amazing leadership blog, and last and surely not least are visionaries Karen and Henry Kimsey-House of the The Coaches Training Institute who are inspiring new leaders every day. There are so many others, way too many for me to mention.
Take a look at the leadership styles and lead from the front of the room or the back of the room, it doesn’t matter. What kind of leader do you want to be? Inspire yourself and others, and lead to success.