Elected Leaders vs. Influential Leaders – Part 2

Elected vs Influential - Part 2 - 1I promised a follow-up to my article last week. I was hoping for a little more input from you as fellow leaders before I provided this follow-up piece. But, this issue is once again very relevant to me and some folks that I know.

Many years ago (late 80s and early 90s) I experienced the phenomena of having to deal with “leaders” who were not the elected leaders of an organization. I call them “de facto” leaders. Although they were not elected or officially recognized, they were in fact significant leaders in their own right. And they actually wielded significant power.

The problem was that I didn’t know how to handle or really even recognize this kind of leadership. It was leadership based solely on the individual’s strong personality and influence on the rest of the organization. (Do you recall how John Maxwell defines “Leadership”?) And although he didn’t represent a majority, he represented enough and they were “verbal” enough such that they had to be reckoned with.

So, what did I do with a guy who was content to be the voice of the contrary instead of the voice of the constructive? Continue reading “Elected Leaders vs. Influential Leaders – Part 2”

Leadership and Values

Great Man LeaderThere is a theory of leadership known as the “great man” theory. It states that great leaders are simply more “heroic” than others. And further, their innate qualities, skills or abilities enable them to shape their world. But this theory is too simplistic and it ignored the evidence that sometimes leaders are developed in the crucible of crisis. This second situation has its own set of statements supporting that theory of leadership.

But, for purposes of today’s thoughts, I want to focus on the “heroic” nature of leadership. I choose to use a word like “heroic” because it connotes a certain values based approach to leadership. Far too often folks discuss leadership in a “value vacuum”. In my view this is not only incorrect, it is ultimately very harmful to the organization that has leaders who act outside of values and ethics.

Values are an integral part of good leadership. To be a true leader, you must Continue reading “Leadership and Values”

Leadership and Conflict

Conflict and Leadership - 1I have been thinking a lot lately about conflict and conflict resolution. I think we can all agree that some level of conflict is unavoidable. However, how we face it and resolve that conflict says a great deal about our own leadership styles and abilities.

Consider the following statement by Warren Bennis, one of the foremost writers on leadership and organizational and management theory.

“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.”

Leaders, this is one of your primary responsibilities. You cannot delegate this. Nor can you pretend that conflicts do not occur within your organization. I have spent much of my adult life working in the corporate world during the week and serving in a non-profit and volunteer organization on weeknights and weekends. And conflict is common to all organizations. Yes, even within churches and religious organizations. But you, as leaders, have the responsibility to sense conflict at its earliest stages and resolve it before it affects the entire organization. Continue reading “Leadership and Conflict”

Elected Leaders vs. Influential Leaders

Elected vs Influential - 1Here is challenge that you may have to face at some point in your leadership career. You will encounter two types of leaders. Elected leaders and Influential leaders.

Have you ever considered these two types? If not, consider them now.

Elected leaders are the ones that we may be familiar with the most. It is reasonably clear how they became leaders. Someone recognized leadership ability within them. The organization then went on and nominated or appointed them to a position of responsibility and leadership. That is fairly clear cut. Ability was recognized and a position was attained. This is generally a good model and it produces good results.

Elected vs Influential - 2Now consider the second type – the Influential leader. This person generally does not have real leadership skills. Yet they have a position of leadership in spite of it. They generally attain the position through shear force of personality.  That may be just a euphemism for being a bully. But that is not always the case. Sometimes it is because they possess a specialized skill.  Sometimes they attain it through longevity within the organization. Sometime they attain the role of leader through fame, notoriety, family or financial position. These are the leaders that are difficult to work with or work for. Continue reading “Elected Leaders vs. Influential Leaders”

How is the view?

The Lead DogThat great southern philosopher, Lewis Grizzard, once said; “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Let me give you a few minutes to visualize that picture.   –  –  –  Do you have a mental picture?  What do you see?

Yup, you see the northern end of a southbound dog.  Picturesque, isn’t it?

But here is the point that Grizzard unwittingly (or maybe not so unwittingly) makes.  He is making a point that we need to strive to be leaders and to strive to lead the pack.  We should not just be content to run with the pack.  And that is a great point.  But I think there is a greater point to be made here.

The greater point is about the actual role and behavior of the leader.  Although the guy in the parka that stands on the back of the sled has all of the outward appearance of being a leader.  He in fact is not.  He is the encourager.  He is the one who exhorts us on.  He may even be the one with authority and the power of the whip if he chooses to use it.  But, he is not the leader.  I would submit to you that leadership is by example, not by command.

The leader is the number 1 dog out in front.  That dog is the one that the other dogs follow.  He sets the pace and the actual path the sled will take within the confines of the terrain and environment.

So, what is the leadership principle here? Continue reading “How is the view?”