Quote of the week
“You’re not leading if nothing is being changed, no paradigms are being challenged…and nobody is being stretched.”
— Ron Edmondson
It simply isn’t true that all leaders are born, not made. Sure, sometimes it’s helpful to have the characteristics of an Admiral Nelson, but the fact of the matter is that leaders – no matter what their title – can learn meet specific challenges faced by the organizations in which they work.
In other words, leaders can learn tools and approaches that can help them respond to the challenges of a changing public sector.
The first thing they have to understand is that the days when Admiral Nelson’s directorial leadership style is needed are few and far between in our managerial environment.
In a world of complex, interrelated challenges that require input from experts with different perspectives, a true leader is a chef d’orchestre, someone who can bring together and direct multiple inputs toward success. That implies the competency of collaboration, for one, an ability to share information and power.
I have often heard public sector leaders say that they can’t make change because ‘the system’, in spite of what it says, won’t allow it. They say everyone is afraid of innovation, and blame the people above them for stifling all attempts at change.
This excuse is a nonstarter for anyone who aspires to serious leadership. Leaders have to identify and learn what they can do within their sphere of influence so the organization can respond to its challenges and improve.
Any leader, for example, can create a positive culture in their workplace; no permission needed.
And don’t blame it on the staff. A leader’s task is to engage staff so they are aligned with the outcomes and mission of the organization and are empowered to support improved performance.
Giving up – blaming it on everyone else – is not for leaders. Giving up is for technocrats, people who just go into work to collect their paychecks.