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Quote of the Week comes from Albert Einstein

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Leadership :Simple or Complicated?

I am always amazed at how we complicate everything in our minds.  I belong to a number of Business Groups and Networks and am a voracious reader of books, blogs, forums, and websites. There is a staggering amount of conflicting information available today on any given subject.

Discussions that center on Leadership inevitably give rise to a collection of associative words that are woven throughout their pages. Organization, structure, management, performance, efficiency, productivity, culture, name but a few of those typically found.

Recently I was pointed towards the book "Managing Leadership" and so I looked it up and began with the table of contents.  Leadership has been dissected into 8 or 9 chapters and at least 30 or 40 subheadings.  I admit to feeling slightly overwhelmed at the prospect of wading through another collection of ideas with so many words to talk about one thing.

Nonetheless,  I read these books to see and understand what others are thinking, asserting, advocating, and promoting as "The Way".   What I generally find is that more imaginary divisions are created between this thing and that thing, with each thing further subdivided into smaller and smaller compartments.  How easy it becomes to lose sight of the bigger picture when we dive into the details and engage in what Native Americans refer to as "mouse vision"!

Please don't get me wrong - mouse vision has some usefulness.  Limited usefulness, I should add.  But have we gone overboard whereby everything we see and do need be broken into smaller and smaller components or are we simply pretending to know and understand more than we really do?

Leadership is a concept, and in that sense, has no reality of it's own.  There are some who say they are self-led although I prefer to think of the words as relational, describing the relationship between Leaders and Followers.  One defines the other.  If self-led, then I must also self-follow, and this diminishes the usefulness of both words in the communication of the "concept".

Although books abound on Leadership - Managing Leadership, Leadership Principles, Leadership and Self-Deception - the concept could be made far more simple and easy to grasp.  I simplify it as meaning this: Enlightened  Leadership involves seeing those you lead as people rather than objects, no different than yourself, and in treating them as you would wish to be treated if  you traded positions and walked the proverbial "mile in their shoes".

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