Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Value Based Leadership- My Thoughts

Should Leadership be defined solely by the success achieved by the individual in his chosen field? …Most of the leadership literature makes that assumption. Leaders get things done. They win wars, championships, fortune, and fame. They cure sick teams, organizations and whole countries. Not by themselves, of course – we followers have a limited role, as foot soldiers, employees, and voters. Charismatic individual is someone, who somehow is able to motivate or drive or carry his/her team to achieve an (often) unlikely goal. Conversely, the absence of significant achievement generally signifies a leadership-free environment.
As luck would have it, many of the leaders whose achievements capture the popular imagination are pretty tough cookies, so focused on winning that they are often willing to bend the social and organizational rules that bind us lesser mortals. Nevertheless, in a results-focused world, their achievements qualify them as leadership role models. Their successes explain the staying power of anti-social leadership mantras like “nice guys finish last” and “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
“Just-the-results” leadership may achieve goals, but it has limited transformational power. It produces more and more of the same old stuff, and that’s fine, if the same old stuff is what the organization needs. The problematic outcome of this brand of leadership is often an admirably efficient vehicle with steering problems; the defects are rarely visible, but are liable to produce with distressing frequency an Enron, a General Motors, or a Satyam. When such disasters occur, we are always amazed in hindsight at the damage wrought by once-respected “leaders.”

The values-based leadership insists on examining the messy details implied by “how?” and “why?” It may be less efficient than the “no questions asked” variety, and it takes time to reach critical mass; but the need of the hour is to develop hundreds of leaders with the ability not only to get things done, but to go beyond the numbers to change lives for the better, it has a unique competitive advantage with limitless potential. It is not enough to win a leader job security, let alone praise and honor. A result that is achieved the wrong way – in a way that violates the letter or spirit of the Dynamic Organization – does not count. Leaders would do better to fall short of a goal than to reach it unethically, or by taking advantage of a customer, or by treating peers, employees, vendors, or even competitors with disrespect.