Bruce Fritch, Strategic Snapshots: Refreshing Our Perspective

Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership

Leadership and work team effectiveness are core to my research.  In 30-plus years of practice, I’ve seen many examples of extraordinary leadership. But, I’ve also seen the precision of the terms “leader” and ” leadership” dangerously erode and socialization regarding leadership become increasingly superficial. We each have a responsibility to reverse this.

There are four dimensions I’ve witnessed in extraordinary leaders:

First, leadership is about worthy goals and values.  Through worthy goals and core civil values, we advance the community and the world, hence, humanity.  “Worthy” is not about the leader’s power, wealth or personal well being.  Two types of people have a responsibility for worthy goals and core values: (1) people in high positions of authority who have the power to influence and allocate resources; and, (2) everyone else on the planet.  Those in high authority have the easiest opportunity to advance humanity, so it becomes enormously costly when they get distracted by personal greed. Fundamentally, leadership occurs through association with worthy goals and core values, creating shared visions of possibilities, and influencing people to join in these achievements, with such effectiveness that they willingly come to engage worthy aims, day after day, until they succeed.

Second, leadership is about removing obstacles others encounter to achieve a worthy mutual purpose.  The most effective leaders I observe concern themselves with removing every conceivable obstacle from the path and progress of each collaborator.  Examples? Providing clear accountability, feedback, rewards, tools, training, resources, time, encouragement and respect; while removing debilitating fear and anxiety.

Third, leadership is about the people who engage the worthy goals with core values.  The best leaders make extraordinary efforts to know, understand, appreciate, and respect each person on the team.  The last thing such leaders would rationalize is layoffs to groom the income statement or to pay bonuses.  People are the priority, and influencing people to stand to their full height is a principle.

Fourth, leadership is about maximizing the performance capacity of people.  The extraordinary leaders I’ve observed are dedicated to growing collaboration, resilience, improvisation, and insight throughout the team.

What would you add? Do you disagree with any of these? I’d like to know.

 


Fritch Consulting facilitates business growth by collaborating with leaders who are striving with core-values to insightfully "do the right thing." I write and speak out of my deep concern for the current crisis of integrity in leadership, with the hope of creating a more discerning conversation and promoting effective action.

Your viewpoints are appreciated and I would be happy to continue the conversation — so I encourage you to Comment below or contact me directly: [email protected]. — Bruce W. Fritch

  • Lance Roberts

    I could not agree more with your synopsis of leadership and how it has eroded — dangerously so in some instances. I would suggest a fifth element of extraordinary leadership: communication. You touched on this in the second dimension but I think a case can be made for how leaders communicate both internally and externally is a separate part of leadership. Communication gives voice to the actions true leaders take with employees, the public, the media or any other audience he/she wishes to influence. While there have been great communicators who many would question were great leaders based on the four dimensions you outlined, I do believe history points to a few who embraced all five qualities. In our lifetime, I think politically of Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. In business, Herb Keller (Southwest Airlines), Alan Mulally (Ford Motor Company), Akio Toyoda (Toyota) as just a few who from what I have seen and read would fit your definition above. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful and important discussion. I think you should submit it to Huffington Post, Slate and similar publications. Regards, Lance Roberts

    • Thank you, Lance. I like your emphasis on communication, and I appreciate you making the case. You are a thoughtful communicator, and you have a gift for diplomacy. I encourage you to continue expressing your perspective about leadership that matters. Your consequential conversations can make a difference.

  • Lance Roberts

    I could not agree more with your synopsis of leadership and how it has eroded — dangerously so in some instances. I would suggest a fifth element of extraordinary leadership: communication. You touched on this in the second dimension but I think a case can be made for how leaders communicate both internally and externally is a separate part of leadership. Communication gives voice to the actions true leaders take with employees, the public, the media or any other audience he/she wishes to influence. While there have been great communicators who many would question were great leaders based on the four dimensions you outlined, I do believe history points to a few who embraced all five qualities. In our lifetime, I think politically of Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. In business, Herb Keller (Southwest Airlines), Alan Mulally (Ford Motor Company), Akio Toyoda (Toyota) as just a few who from what I have seen and read would fit your definition above. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful and important discussion. I think you should submit it to Huffington Post, Slate and similar publications. Regards, Lance Roberts

    • Thank you, Lance. I like your emphasis on communication, and I appreciate you making the case. You are a thoughtful communicator, and you have a gift for diplomacy. I encourage you to continue expressing your perspective about leadership that matters. Your consequential conversations can make a difference.

  • Dean Mersky

    I agree with both Bruce and Lance. Simply put, a great leader leaves those being led with more than they thought they could accomplish, experiences they never thought they would have, and capabilities they never thought they would own. A great leader leaves today better than it was yesterday through “envision,” through “communication,” culminating in “execution.”

    • Dean, I appreciate your insight, and your leadership model: envision, communication, execution. Your assertion that leaders make an increasingly constructive impression, as u201cu2026a great leader leaves those being led withu2026capabilities they never thought they would ownu2026u201d trumps the experience of so many about their boss, or bossu2019 boss. The distinctions you make should be part of the conversation about great leadership. It puts pertinent edges into what is often boring acquiescence about those in u201cleadershipu201d authority. Unless we impose common sense and accountability, the leaders we have are the ones we deserve.

  • Dean Mersky

    I agree with both Bruce and Lance. Simply put, a great leader leaves those being led with more than they thought they could accomplish, experiences they never thought they would have, and capabilities they never thought they would own. A great leader leaves today better than it was yesterday through “envision,” through “communication,” culminating in “execution.”

    • Dean, I appreciate your insight, and your leadership model: envision, communication, execution. Your assertion that leaders make an increasingly constructive impression, as “…a great leader leaves those being led with…capabilities they never thought they would own…” trumps the experience of so many about their boss, or boss’ boss. The distinctions you make should be part of the conversation about great leadership. It puts pertinent edges into what is often boring acquiescence about those in “leadership” authority. Unless we impose common sense and accountability, the leaders we have are the ones we deserve.

  • Jud

    FYI: John Bogle’s book, Enough (I think it’s chapter 5), has a section on the difference between being a leader and being a manager.nn

    • Thanks, Jud. The book you refer to is Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John C. Bogle. I think the distinction between leadership and management is important. I also refer to the work of Peter F. Drucker, who wrote brilliantly about management and leadership for decades.

  • Jud

    FYI: John Bogle’s book, Enough (I think it’s chapter 5), has a section on the difference between being a leader and being a manager.

    • Thanks, Jud. The book you refer to is Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John C. Bogle. I think the distinction between leadership and management is important. I also refer to the work of Peter F. Drucker, who wrote brilliantly about management and leadership for decades.

  • Angela

    Worthy blog Bruce. I agree with all. Genuine leaders have the ability to give people they lead the space, motivation and responsibility to find the real capacity in themselves. Respect – such an integral part of it all. Thank you for sharing.

    • Respect is so very important in this conversation. I believe the core of respect is the predisposition that a person is worthy and matters. Thank you, Angela.

  • Angela

    Worthy blog Bruce. I agree with all. Genuine leaders have the ability to give people they lead the space, motivation and responsibility to find the real capacity in themselves. Respect – such an integral part of it all. Thank you for sharing.

    • Respect is so very important in this conversation. I believe the core of respect is the predisposition that a person is worthy and matters. Thank you, Angela.

  • Tshorts

    Thanks, Bruce. I believe your take on leadership is insightful and wise, regarding those leaders in recognized positions of power over others whose personalities, decisions, and actions are centered in, as you term them, “worthy values.” The ability and determination to focus on principles that bring value to others’ lives is crucial to maintaining direction and movement toward worthy work and values; without that ability and determination lesser leaders become enmeshed in lesser goals and smaller, less meaningful successes. nnThere are other kinds of leadership of course. Leaders who focus on solidifying the security of their power often are successful in holding power, and when they do they’re recognized as “strong” and “effective” leaders, no matter how empty their actual contributions. This isn’t news, of course, but should stimulate criticism and demanding views of leaders.nnBut there’s another leadership category, too, that deserves mention as being different from the lives most of us lead. Most — maybe all — communities are led from within by leaders who don’t hold high positions of authority and don’t have much power to influence and allocate resources. The leaders who move charitable non-profits, schools and school systems, visionary long-term city planning, and societal reforms; and who inspire others’ efforts to make their own contributions, are crucial to the advancement of humanity. They’re crucial not only because they generate substance for worthy values, but because they are the people who have power also to impact the perceptions and decisions of the top-level leaders who do have leverage over the allocation of resources and the priorities of systems. They are the “strategic middle-out” leaders who connect figurehead leaders with the grassroots, the real people whose lives are so affected by very powerful leadership.nnThanks again, Bruce. I very much appreciate your investment in, and action to spread, real thinking about worthy leadership. Great essay!nnPeace, Tom

    • Your u201ccommentu201d is so reflective of your extraordinary thoughtfulness. In your 3rd paragraph you write about the leaders who lead communities from within, while they donu2019t hold high authority positions or resources to allocate. They were our mothers and fathers, our storekeepers and neighbors as we were growing up. Today, many of the Main Street leaders are suffering and soldiering on, leading because it is the right thing to do and they bear an inner sense of responsibility. I am thankful that you included them in the conversation. It is vitally important to do so. I applaud these leaders. nnMy emphasis for the past 40 years has been to advise the chief executive, the admiral, the ceo, the board of directors, the executive team u2014 the ones with highest formal authority. These are the people who are most visible and powerful, thus they have a disproportionate influence on socializing the norm we come to accept for authority and leadership. nnI have witnessed too many of the senior executives in publicly traded corporations misplace their civil compass, particularly in the last 25 years. The dangerous slippage in leadership values has occurred most prominently within this group, where the money and power is most accessible. While none of them decried core civil values, too many subscribed to the u201cgreed is goodu201d philosophy with such force and trajectory that money-grubbing gluttony became a predisposition. We have done little to counter-balance this. nnWe tend to not hold the so-called u201cleaderu201d accountable, and the evidence is startling easy to encounter. Detailed analyses have become best sellers. Consult Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down . . . And Why They’ll Take Us to the Brink Again by Suzanne McGee, or Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America by Greg Farrell, or The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, or Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem–and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin, or a dozen other well-researched cases. The evidence is obvious, and it is not just confined to Wall Street, is it?. nnApplauding the leaders on Main Street, those who lead communities from within, is vitally important for balance, perspective and emulation. Consistent with such balance, I find the vast majority of corporate managers concern themselves daily with core values, how to merit the respect of their co-workers and families, and how to be effective in their jobs.nnIf one wishes to be comprehensive and not divisive u2014 prompting a consequential conversation that spurs constructive action u2014 it is not an easy conversation to conduct. You are one of the most well-intended (and smartest) people on the planet, and I trust you to facilitate. Thank you, Tom. I encourage us all to try.

  • Tshorts

    Thanks, Bruce. I believe your take on leadership is insightful and wise, regarding those leaders in recognized positions of power over others whose personalities, decisions, and actions are centered in, as you term them, “worthy values.” The ability and determination to focus on principles that bring value to others’ lives is crucial to maintaining direction and movement toward worthy work and values; without that ability and determination lesser leaders become enmeshed in lesser goals and smaller, less meaningful successes.

    There are other kinds of leadership of course. Leaders who focus on solidifying the security of their power often are successful in holding power, and when they do they’re recognized as “strong” and “effective” leaders, no matter how empty their actual contributions. This isn’t news, of course, but should stimulate criticism and demanding views of leaders.

    But there’s another leadership category, too, that deserves mention as being different from the lives most of us lead. Most — maybe all — communities are led from within by leaders who don’t hold high positions of authority and don’t have much power to influence and allocate resources. The leaders who move charitable non-profits, schools and school systems, visionary long-term city planning, and societal reforms; and who inspire others’ efforts to make their own contributions, are crucial to the advancement of humanity. They’re crucial not only because they generate substance for worthy values, but because they are the people who have power also to impact the perceptions and decisions of the top-level leaders who do have leverage over the allocation of resources and the priorities of systems. They are the “strategic middle-out” leaders who connect figurehead leaders with the grassroots, the real people whose lives are so affected by very powerful leadership.

    Thanks again, Bruce. I very much appreciate your investment in, and action to spread, real thinking about worthy leadership. Great essay!

    Peace, Tom

    • Your “comment” is so reflective of your extraordinary thoughtfulness. In your 3rd paragraph you write about the leaders who lead communities from within, while they don’t hold high authority positions or resources to allocate. They were our mothers and fathers, our storekeepers and neighbors as we were growing up. Today, many of the Main Street leaders are suffering and soldiering on, leading because it is the right thing to do and they bear an inner sense of responsibility. I am thankful that you included them in the conversation. It is vitally important to do so. I applaud these leaders.

      My emphasis for the past 40 years has been to advise the chief executive, the admiral, the ceo, the board of directors, the executive team — the ones with highest formal authority. These are the people who are most visible and powerful, thus they have a disproportionate influence on socializing the norm we come to accept for authority and leadership.

      I have witnessed too many of the senior executives in publicly traded corporations misplace their civil compass, particularly in the last 25 years. The dangerous slippage in leadership values has occurred most prominently within this group, where the money and power is most accessible. While none of them decried core civil values, too many subscribed to the “greed is good” philosophy with such force and trajectory that money-grubbing gluttony became a predisposition. We have done little to counter-balance this.

      We tend to not hold the so-called “leader” accountable, and the evidence is startlingly easy to encounter. Detailed analyses have become best sellers. Consult Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down . . . And Why They’ll Take Us to the Brink Again by Suzanne McGee, or Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America by Greg Farrell, or The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, or Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem–and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin, or a dozen other well-researched cases. The evidence is obvious, and it is not just confined to Wall Street, is it?.

      Applauding the leaders on Main Street, those who lead communities from within, is vitally important for balance, perspective and emulation. Consistent with such balance, I find the vast majority of corporate managers concern themselves daily with core values, how to merit the respect of their co-workers and families, and how to be effective in their jobs.

      If one wishes to be comprehensive and not divisive — prompting a consequential conversation that spurs constructive action — it is not an easy conversation to conduct. You are one of the most well-intended (and smartest) people on the planet, and I trust you to facilitate. Thank you, Tom. I encourage us all to try.

  • Red Cavaney

    Bruce–I concur with your article and continue to learn from you, much as I have over several decades. You know well how to get us to “stretch” our definition of leadership values. Happy New Year….red

    • Red, you are one of my models for extraordinary leadership, and I know I have learned more from you then I could ever teach. For example, much of what I learned about the art and potential of offsite conferences to truly transform doubt and generate worthy aspiration occurred with your sponsorship and leadership. Time will tell whether my synthesis and reflections merit the model. Happy New Year, indeed, Red! Thank you.

  • Red Cavaney

    Bruce–I concur with your article and continue to learn from you, much as I have over several decades. You know well how to get us to “stretch” our definition of leadership values. Happy New Year….red

    • Red, you are one of my models for extraordinary leadership, and I know I have learned more from you then I could ever teach. For example, much of what I learned about the art and potential of offsite conferences to truly transform doubt and generate worthy aspiration occurred with your sponsorship and leadership. Time will tell whether my synthesis and reflections merit the model. Happy New Year, indeed, Red! Thank you.

  • I applaud your efforts to shift leadership back to focusing on people rather than worshipping at the altar of the almighty dollar. I second Lance’s addition: communication. Clear, persuasive, respectful communication facilitate all those other admirable core values you list. nnI’m glad you’re out there to ignite and inspire.

    • I see we share this conversation. I hope to support you. Thank you, Lisa.

  • I applaud your efforts to shift leadership back to focusing on people rather than worshipping at the altar of the almighty dollar. I second Lance’s addition: communication. Clear, persuasive, respectful communication facilitate all those other admirable core values you list.

    I’m glad you’re out there to ignite and inspire.

    • I see we share this conversation. I hope to support you. Thank you, Lisa.

  • Rick Deitchman

    Bruce: I like the emphasis on goals, values, and people. Concern for others must be part of true leadership. So much of what we see in the world now, and in politics, is concern for a few, or concern with maintaining power and position. Your Four Dimensions are an excellent template for identifying leadership and claiming a perspective on what it should mean.

    • Thank you, Rick. Isnu2019t it ironic how the u201cu2026concern for a few, or concern with maintaining power and positionu2026u201d exists in the midst of the highest standard of living and the greatest boom in technology and information in human history? Are we holding the wrong conversations, or drowning out the few that are wise? You are a leader who is extraordinarily gifted at influencing the pertinent conversations to occur. As one who benefits immeasurably from knowing you, I encourage you to write and speak about living with great respect for self and others, in a world short on attention span and long on discontent.

  • Rick Deitchman

    Bruce: I like the emphasis on goals, values, and people. Concern for others must be part of true leadership. So much of what we see in the world now, and in politics, is concern for a few, or concern with maintaining power and position. Your Four Dimensions are an excellent template for identifying leadership and claiming a perspective on what it should mean.

    • Thank you, Rick. Isn’t it ironic how the “…concern for a few, or concern with maintaining power and position…” exists in the midst of the highest standard of living and the greatest boom in technology and information in human history? Are we holding the wrong conversations, or drowning out the few that are wise? You are a leader who is extraordinarily gifted at influencing the pertinent conversations to occur. As one who benefits immeasurably from knowing you, I encourage you to write and speak about living with great respect for self and others, in a world short on attention span and long on discontent.

  • This is an insightful, timely post, Bruce. Thinking back on my time in the military, public education, non-profit sector, and large corporations, some of the best leaders I’ve encountered shared the qualities you describe to varying degrees. Here are some additional thoughts on each of the dimensions:nn1. Michael Porter’s cover article, “Creating Shared Value”, in this month’s HBR lays out a roadmap for how leaders can incorporate the worthy goals and values you speak of into authentic, fiscally responsible efforts that lead to the creation of shared value for companies and communities. nn2. Your thoughts about removing obstacles immediately brought to mind one of the most effective leaders I ever worked for. We were based in different cities, so our interactions were somewhat limited. During a meeting one day, I let it slip that I was reluctant to call on him to help me solve problems at our location because I didn’t want to burden him. His response was truly one of those paradigm-shifting moments for me. He asked, “Do yo know what my job is? My job is to make you great. So tell me what you need me to do to clear the path so that you can do great work.” That was 10+ years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.nn3. Bob Sutton wrote a post on Jan. 10 entitled, “Pixar Lore: The Day Our Bosses Saved Our Jobs” that tells a story about the positive impact that comes from employees KNOWING that they are the first priority of their leaders. And it’s hard to argue with Pixar’s creative and commercial success. nn4. To me, this fourth dimension may be the most important. Great leaders understand the multiplier effect that results from creating environments that free people to bring their best selves to work. Some of the research that Dan Pink highlights in his latest book, Drive, paints a vivid picture of what leaders and managers should (and shouldn’t) do to foster extraordinary engagement and performance from the people they serve. In my work in helping organizations create more innovative cultures, I’ve seen the impact of this dimension first hand. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen how the absence of this leadership quality can strangle growth and development of people and teams. nnOne last thought: I agree with Lance Roberts’ suggestion about communication being a fifth element. I would simply add that effective communication is bi-directional and that the best leaders are the ones who listen as much, if not more, than they speak. nnThanks for including me in your community of leaders and thinkers! I very much look forward to learning more from everyone here and hopefully my contributions are of value.

    • Thank you, David. To me, your comments are insightful and of great value! Your story reflecting the removing obstacles dimension is wonderful. I seldom see people doing this dimension. It takes a great deal of maturity and personal security to even consider this dimension. In my observations, the fourth dimension, about maximizing the performance capacity of people, is the simplest yet scarcest of all. The leader who goes there every day is very mature, very savvy, very strategic. Here are links to the articles you suggested we read: By Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer: u201cThe Big Idea: Creating Shared Value,u201d in the January-February 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review (http://bit.ly/eLNVON ). By Bob Sutton: u201cPixar Lore: The Day Our Bosses Saved Our Jobs,u201d originally posted on the HBR Blog, January 10, 2011 (http://bit.ly/i3Du9t ). Please continue prompting and facilitating the conversation…

  • This is an insightful, timely post, Bruce. Thinking back on my time in the military, public education, non-profit sector, and large corporations, some of the best leaders I’ve encountered shared the qualities you describe to varying degrees. Here are some additional thoughts on each of the dimensions:

    1. Michael Porter’s cover article, “Creating Shared Value”, in this month’s HBR lays out a roadmap for how leaders can incorporate the worthy goals and values you speak of into authentic, fiscally responsible efforts that lead to the creation of shared value for companies and communities.

    2. Your thoughts about removing obstacles immediately brought to mind one of the most effective leaders I ever worked for. We were based in different cities, so our interactions were somewhat limited. During a meeting one day, I let it slip that I was reluctant to call on him to help me solve problems at our location because I didn’t want to burden him. His response was truly one of those paradigm-shifting moments for me. He asked, “Do yo know what my job is? My job is to make you great. So tell me what you need me to do to clear the path so that you can do great work.” That was 10+ years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

    3. Bob Sutton wrote a post on Jan. 10 entitled, “Pixar Lore: The Day Our Bosses Saved Our Jobs” that tells a story about the positive impact that comes from employees KNOWING that they are the first priority of their leaders. And it’s hard to argue with Pixar’s creative and commercial success.

    4. To me, this fourth dimension may be the most important. Great leaders understand the multiplier effect that results from creating environments that free people to bring their best selves to work. Some of the research that Dan Pink highlights in his latest book, Drive, paints a vivid picture of what leaders and managers should (and shouldn’t) do to foster extraordinary engagement and performance from the people they serve. In my work in helping organizations create more innovative cultures, I’ve seen the impact of this dimension first hand. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen how the absence of this leadership quality can strangle growth and development of people and teams.

    One last thought: I agree with Lance Roberts’ suggestion about communication being a fifth element. I would simply add that effective communication is bi-directional and that the best leaders are the ones who listen as much, if not more, than they speak.

    Thanks for including me in your community of leaders and thinkers! I very much look forward to learning more from everyone here and hopefully my contributions are of value.

    • Thank you, David. To me, your comments are insightful and of great value!

      Your story reflecting the removing obstacles dimension is wonderful. I seldom see people doing this dimension. It takes a great deal of maturity and personal security to even consider this dimension.

      In my observations, the fourth dimension, about maximizing the performance capacity of people, is the simplest yet scarcest of all. The leader who goes there every day is very mature, very savvy, very strategic.

      Here are links to the articles you suggested we read:

      By Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer: “The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value,” in the January-February 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review (http://bit.ly/eLNVON ).

      By Bob Sutton: “Pixar Lore: The Day Our Bosses Saved Our Jobs,” originally posted on the HBR Blog, January 10, 2011 (http://bit.ly/i3Du9t ).

      Please continue prompting and facilitating the conversation…

  • Meg Holt

    What an interesting blog entry, Bruce. The fact that it captured my attention enough to read both it and all the following thoughts is something rather amazing within my busy work day. It is startling to me how the word ‘communication’ always arises in these discussions. How many seminars and books are there out there on improving our ability to ‘communicate’ effectively with others, particularly others in the work place? And yet, survey after survey tells us that the American worker never feels that they are receiving timely, accurate, responsive, or responsible communication!nnHowever, if we function under the philosophies of strong, humanitarian, even spiritual core values (as you suggest) with truly worthy goals for our companies/entities, ourselves and those who look to us for leadership then we work to build consensus both above and below. Yes, we talk, but more importantly we *listen,* for I do think one of the key talents of leadership is receiving the important information not only from share holders and governing boards, but from those who actually perform the work we are entrusted to lead to success.nnThe economic news regarding the business of America and the world reflects the escalating crisis in leadership as you wrote. Frankly, I am also frighteningly concerned with a similar, but even more pervasive lack of accountable, responsible, even sensible governmental leadership. So, as we go through our days, how are we to have a positive affect on what we see happening around us?nnMeg Holt

    • Meg, thank you for your thoughtful words. I greatly appreciate your concluding question. It summons the leader in each of us — prompting the crucial initiative! You highlight the importance of leaders communicating effectively. Each of us, regardless of title, has a responsibility to influence constructively. The crisis of leadership can only be addressed if people out of the so-called “top leadership” roles speak up — because the crisis is partially based on our unwillingness to hold leaders accountable. I see so many people in American life who lack self-respect. Commonly, this manifests (a) in fear and anxiety to be viewed favorably by the one in authority, irrespective of the competence or honor of the “leader;” and, (b) the mistaken belief that “others, better than me, will take care of the problem.” One way to have a positive effect on what we see happening around us is to facilitate conversations about the core civil values that are reflected in “doing the right thing.”

  • Meg Holt

    What an interesting blog entry, Bruce. The fact that it captured my attention enough to read both it and all the following thoughts is something rather amazing within my busy work day. It is startling to me how the word ‘communication’ always arises in these discussions. How many seminars and books are there out there on improving our ability to ‘communicate’ effectively with others, particularly others in the work place? And yet, survey after survey tells us that the American worker never feels that they are receiving timely, accurate, responsive, or responsible communication!

    However, if we function under the philosophies of strong, humanitarian, even spiritual core values (as you suggest) with truly worthy goals for our companies/entities, ourselves and those who look to us for leadership then we work to build consensus both above and below. Yes, we talk, but more importantly we *listen,* for I do think one of the key talents of leadership is receiving the important information not only from share holders and governing boards, but from those who actually perform the work we are entrusted to lead to success.

    The economic news regarding the business of America and the world reflects the escalating crisis in leadership as you wrote. Frankly, I am also frighteningly concerned with a similar, but even more pervasive lack of accountable, responsible, even sensible governmental leadership. So, as we go through our days, how are we to have a positive affect on what we see happening around us?

    Meg Holt

    • Meg, thank you for your thoughtful words. I greatly appreciate your concluding question. It summons the leader in each of us — prompting the crucial initiative! You highlight the importance of leaders communicating effectively. Each of us, regardless of title, has a responsibility to influence constructively. The crisis of leadership can only be addressed if people out of the so-called “top leadership” roles speak up — because the crisis is partially based on our unwillingness to hold leaders accountable. I see so many people in American life who lack self-respect. Commonly, this manifests (a) in fear and anxiety to be viewed favorably by the one in authority, irrespective of the competence or honor of the “leader;” and, (b) the mistaken belief that “others, better than me, will take care of the problem.” One way to have a positive effect on what we see happening around us is to facilitate conversations about the core civil values that are reflected in “doing the right thing.”

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