Writes Ken Kesey on leadership, “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. ” I must confess that for every leadership article or seminar there are countless men and women who do not measure up to the vicissitudes they demand in their subordinates. I once worked for a company in Utah who wrote on the subject of authentic leadership only to discover they justified their inefficiencies taught to others as, “We’re only human.” I hold leaders and managers to a higher standard.
John Coleman writes below on the empowering nature of leadership. To move people into action by making them better.
We often think of leadership as a solitary task. Buying into Thomas Carlyle’s “great man” theory of history, we speak of leadership in solitary and personal terms. And certainly, history is filled with examples of men and women like Trocmé, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa who took bold individual action. But most real change — even the change driven by those aforementioned leaders — is community-driven and community-focused. Some of the greatest accomplishments in business, politics, and culture have come not from individual initiative alone but from those working in, with, and for community.
First, great leadership often starts in community. When facing great odds or forced to deal with unusual or trying circumstances, few of us are fortified enough to act alone, without counsel or support. This is a point often hammered home by Harvard Business School professor and former Medtronic CEO Bill George, who is a vocal advocate for what he calls “True North Groups.” These are gatherings of peers and mentors with whom we can share. They can counsel us as we face difficult problems and hold us accountable for acting in accordance with our values. Others have advocated similar constructs, such as a personal board of directors. And I’ve noted before the measurable benefits of mentorship. In short, no man is an island, and we are better leaders when we are rooted in a community empowered to counsel us, challenge us, and hold us accountable.
Similarly, great leaders often realize they must act not in isolation but with community. […]
Read full article via Leadership Is Not a Solitary Task – John Coleman – Harvard Business Review.