Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

That Yawning Gap Between Leadership Books And Reality

Look. 
I am not here to lecture anyone. 
But it is hard to understand how there can be so much good advice about leadership flying around, and yet there is such utter cluelessness about basic common sense.
Like how to treat people when you meet them. How about saying: Hello? How are you? How's the weather out there?
Or how to delegate an assignment.
Or how to not scream at your subordinates and throw books.
I was grateful today that my friend and colleague Jeri Richardson took the time to speak about leadership. Things like this.
She came over and shared basic principles of leadership. More than that, she shared her personal experiences.
Jeri told us how to get results, how she's done it over a period of decades:
* Modeling leadership behavior
* Focusing on underlying business needs 
* Dealing with the customer as a human being
...and so much more.
It was all good stuff. But I found myself wondering as she talked, how is it and why is it that so many people I know over the years -- across companies and agencies alike -- have had to manage around their leaders? Rather than the leadership lighting the way?
Is this not what leaders are paid to do? 
It is great that there are people as strong as Jeri is, as tolerant and patient with the foibles of the workplace. 
And we all should learn to lead by example. 
But at the same time, isn't it time for some sort of leadership metric? 
Instead of talking a lot about how much we value our people, or not talking a lot because we are not sure we're perfect, or instead of focusing so much on the work that we miss the human factor altogether --
I would suggest we pay as much attention to leadership and management during work hours as we do in training seminars and reading leadership books and articles.
That leadership become in itself a technical specialty. 
That emotional intelligence -- the core of leadership -- be recognized for what it is.
Not a "soft" meaning "unimportant" skill. But the essence of what leadership is.
That's my hope, anyway. Because in the workplace, the only person who can tell you very clearly what has to be done is the leader. It's the one thing that cannot be delegated down.
I only wish we could institutionalize that kind of secret sauce.
It's an essential ingredient to any high-functioning workplace.

* As always, all opinions are my own.