Leadership and Leaders

Who is your example for good leadership ?

Let’s pretend an organisation is a group of people working through a jungle. You have workers cutting their way through the jungle and managers standing just behind them to make sure everything works accordingly. Leadership is about: 1. Climbing the highest tree 2. Looking around 3. shouting back: “we’re in the wrong jungle!”
— Stephen Covey in the 7 habits of highly effective people

Some thoughts

  1. Leadership needs time and attention to see the whole picture (climbing the tree)
  2. Leadership means decision making about what is right (looking around)
  3. Leadership is communicating your viewpoint(s) (shouting back)
  4. Managers are essential to do the work right and are all about: efficiency, workers motivation, tools, schedules and interactions between fellow workers. Success to a manager is ‘moving one meter further in the jungle’
  5. Leadership is essential to do the right work and are all about vision, overview, direction, intuition, ethics and connection with the group. Success for a leader is working in the right jungle together
  6. Leadership is not limited to a formal position, but a choice anyone in the group can make; anybody can climb a tree, look around and start shouting
  7. People who have a formal position of leadership are often the managers; worried about whether everybody does their work right
  8. Workers are often the leaders: seeing what is happening, forming an opinion about it and take action accordingly.

I believe the structure and culture of organisations should support everybody to show their leadership. Where the role of formal leaders is to enable others to show their leadership.

Your thoughts

  • Do you have the attention/time/space to climb a tree?
  • Where do your ideas of “the right jungle” come from?
  • How effective is your communicating of your ideas?
  • How does your example of a good leader fit into this metaphor? In which of the three steps does he/she/it excels?
  • In what area of your life should you climb a tree?

The end of leaders. The start of leadership.

More of this in 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey.

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