Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche

Real Men Don't Eat Quiche - 1Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche was a a bestselling tongue-in-cheek book satirizing stereotypes of masculinity very popular that was published the year that my wife and I got married. I confess that I wasn’t much of a reader at that time. So, my only real exposure to the book was from pop culture and from listening to what commentators and other pundits had to say about that book.

The book was an attempt to refer to or suggest that a man who is a dilettante, a trend-chaser, an over-anxious conformist to fashionable forms of “lifestyle”, and socially correct behaviors and opinions, one who lacks the traditional masculine virtue of tough self-assurance is therefore NOT a real man. The book’s humor derives its’ message from the fears and confusion of contemporary 1980s middle-class men about how they ought to behave, after a decade of various forms of feminist critique on traditional male roles and beliefs. The book was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 55 weeks, and sold over 1.6 million copies at the time.

Real Men Don't Eat Quiche - 2It is a shame that that book had to be written. It never would have been written had there not been a glaring blemish on traditional manhood and manly behavior. Recently we have seen a spate of more books that are an “encouragement” to men to return to some man’s view of what a man really is.

I will not take this opportunity to debate the merits of either book. But I will offer this thought as some additional fodder for consideration. Continue reading “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”

George Washington on Leadership

George Washington on Leadership - 1We have studied George Washington since first grade.  We think we know a lot about him. But I am not sure that what we think we know is really historically accurate. I hope that there is more to George Washington than that silver dollar and that cherry tree.

Washington was many things. And he was indeed a leader. He was the ideal man to lead the newly formed American Continental Army and then later to lead the newly formed United States as the nation’s first president. He developed his leadership skills from an early age and a distinguished military career. He further honed them as a business man and entrepreneur. Those leadership skills and abilities made him the wealthiest man in America by many calculations. And his leadership was ultimately tested in his later military career as he took a rag-tag militia and forced the greatest military in the world into surrender. But his testing and trials were not over as the nation elected him to be the very first president.

What can we learn from Washington’s leadership style and skills? Several things come to mind for me today. Consider the following. Continue reading “George Washington on Leadership”

Leadership Means Sometime You Have to Push

Leadership Means Sometimes You Have to Push - 1Leadership means sometimes you have to move large groups of sometimes inanimate objects such as people and institutions in a forward direction. As a leader you are often a “pusher”. But you have to remember that when pushing people – somebody is going to push back from time to time!

Although there may be more, there are at least four approaches:

Consider the Swift Approach

Some leaders believe that it is incumbent upon them to move swiftly when they come into a new position. They are often heard to say things like; “You gotta strike while the iron is hot!”

Leadership Means Sometimes You Have to Push - 2Let’s call these leaders “Hares”. [I’ll bet you can already guess the next group, can’t you?]

These leaders are not bad. They are not necessarily impatient as you may suspect. They just feel a strong mandate and see now as an opportune time to move. They feel that it is incumbent upon them to lead with speed.

One of the problems with this style of leadership is that those who employ it often do not take the time on the front end to build consensus among the other leaders and among the followers. And that mistake can poison the potential for change in the coming days.

Consider the Slow Approach

Some leaders err on the side of moving way to slowly. They believe that their followers will only respond to Continue reading “Leadership Means Sometime You Have to Push”

Looking Funny On A Horse

Looking Funny On A Horse - 1I have said many times that love a great and pithy little quote. And I stumbled upon this one the other day from Adlai Stevenson.

Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (5 February 1900 – 14 July 1965) was an American politician and statesman. He was noted for his skill in debate and oratory. He served as Governor of Illinois and he was twice an unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States running against Dwight D. Eisenhower (in 1952 and 1956). Under the John F. Kennedy administration, he served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations.  Here is a quote attributed to him:

“It is hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

The quote above has been written about recently in a book by Ron Gaddie entitled, Born to Run: Origins of the Political Career. In that book Gaddie examines the political careers of nine different individuals who ran for political offices at a variety of local and state levels. I do not intend to review the book here. Rather, I want to look at the quote and explore its message to us as leaders.

What does the quote say to you from a leadership perspective? Continue reading “Looking Funny On A Horse”