Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leadership and the People We Lead

Are you a leader? Someone said the best way to know if you are a leader is to look around and see if anyone is following you. Once I thought I was leading someone down here; then discovered that the ones following me were casing me with the idea of picking my pocket. They were good at it, too. My group of followers suddenly surrounded me and slipped my empty wallet right out of my back pocket. Slick. But God let me catch the perpetrators and get it back. At that point, I was the follower, not the leader!

Okay, so I am a leader of sorts. Sometimes I lead. I also have to follow. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to find leadership flaws in the ones we are following? But have you also noticed how difficult it is to spot our own leadership flaws? I don't know many that are exempt from such as that. I suppose I am not speaking to all of us who lead; but, still and again, there are many of us who would be able to wear that shoe really well.

Consequently, I read lots of books on leadership (Now if I could only get to where I put that stuff into practice!). One I read last year caught my eye as I looked for another book in my shelves. It's by Hans Finzel and is called The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make. What a great read! It was originally published in 1994, but republished in 2007. I found it, of all places to be, in the airport in Charlotte, NC. If you can get to a bookstore, or look online, and if you are a leader, you want this valuable book.

What are Finzel's top ten? Here they are:
  1. The top-down attitude, which he sees as the biggest gaffe we make.
  2. Putting paperwork before "peoplework."
  3. The absence of affirmation.
  4. Allowing no room for mavericks.
  5. Dictatorship in decision-making (thinking you know and have all the answers).
  6. Dirty delegation (not letting go of a job once you have delegated it; read it carefully, Mr. Micro-manager).
  7. Communication chaos, learning to sing from the same page in the hymnal.
  8. Missing the clues of corporate culture (it's not what it may sound like).
  9. Success without successors (passing the baton to others)
  10. Failure to focus on the future.

What would your top ten be? Get the book and give it a read. It's worth $15.


GuyMuse said...

All ten are good, but if we would just do #1-3 and nothing else, what drastic changes we would begin to see.

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

I think all the odd numbers placed into practice would drastically change the way things work in an organization, even one like ours. Let's buy the book and distribute it upline!