Results or Style? What is Leadership all About?

male employer gesticulating and explaining idea in light office
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Having perceived organizational leadership for eight years, incapable leaders invariably explain their reasoning by pointing to their methods as “leadership style.” While they relate to it as their style, I call it a subtle lack of leadership! It is nearly a direct oxymoron to justify lousy leadership as one’s “leadership style,’ because leading is not a matter of style, but rather a case of effectiveness, implementation, and carrying a vision. However, “vision” without a plan to achieve the vision, is nothing more than “obscured” leadership.

I feel that leaders who do not plan correctly are habitually acting in the “blind.” It is scarce that “blind” leadership is at all practical. Many leaders seem to fancy a “hands-off,” above the luxury style of leadership. Sadly, unless these volunteer leaders are associated with one of the very few organizations that are expertly led and directed by paid staff, most powerful leaders need to be willing to get their hands dirty.

Efficient leadership requires thorough planning, and that is not a case of “style.” Discourse is a matter of style, but rhetoric alone, while it may sound exciting, never achieves an end result. How one gives a speech, conducts a meeting, relates to people, etc., are all things that relate to style. However, active leadership mandates first having a “vision,” then developing an action plan, and then doing the “nitty-gritty” to assure that the vision is achieved. I have earlier compiled articles about strategic planning and action plans, and when you read those, you will realize how vital I believe these things are to being a powerful leader.

Most leaders are not “born leaders” but are developed and trained. Many “leaders” who believe in “style” often “talk the talk” but rarely “walk the walk.” Sadly, since more leaders are more “style than substance,” these people usually show disdain towards the realities of leadership – that is, the decision making, hard work, follow-up, planning, and implementation.

Until an organization understands and executes multi- staged leadership training, that organization will not develop to its potential. The dearth of leadership, which is generally related to an unsatisfactory process for qualifying leaders, combined with an unwillingness to establish thorough and professional leadership training, is the largest obstacle to organizational competency.

It is a sad reality that of the many hundred leaders I have consulted and observed in the past few hours, the crushing majority, while often charming individuals, are ill-equipped to be leaders. I have observed very few organizations that give sufficient attention to qualifying leaders, leadership training and development, paying enough attention to details, strategic planning, and developing implementable and essential action plans.

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