Tough People Make the Best Leaders- Driven by Power, Fame, Fortune: Decent People Dont Have the Right Stuff…

Want to build great organization? Then don’t start with a ‘good’ person as leader; start with a ‘tough person as leader, and adapt as necessary… According to Rob Asghar; most of the modern leadership development industry is based on myth: It’s feel-good myth, spread by consultants, academics, gurus… about who makes the best leaders.

The experts suggest that the best leaders are– collaborative, compassionate, empathetic, free of most defects of character: But it’s false… The ‘best’ leaders are consistently flawed– however, more important; they are visionaries, they have ability to get things done, ability to sell ideas, ability to take an organization into new/different directions, ability to deal with crisis…

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According to Michael Maccoby; it’s the narcissists who come closest to the collective image of the ‘best’ leader… for two reasons; they have compelling, even gripping, visions for organizations, and they have an ability to attract followers… Productive narcissists understand the vision thing particularly well, because by nature they are people who see the ‘big’ picture; they don’t try to understand the future, but they do attempt to create the future…

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw; some people see things as they are, and ask why… narcissists see things that never were, and ask why not. Ultimately the ‘best’ leader, has a foundation of ‘bad’ qualities– classic nasty competitive streak, excessive risk-taking, dangerous stubbornness, it’s all about me attitude… But then its the role of the organization to add the restraints, the wisdom, the compassion and the other qualities that keep these ‘best’ leaders from racing off a cliff in their zeal… This notion of a leader is quite different from what most management gurus are trying to sell…

In the article Can Bad People be Good Leaders? by Ray Pennings writes: To assume that all good leaders are good people is to be will-fully blind to reality of the human condition… Worse it may cause leaders, themselves, to think that because they are leaders they are good people, therefore they are– trustworthy, brave, generous… and never deceitful,  cowardly, greedy… However, it’s only when people recognize and manage their failings can they achieve greatness. Both good and evil run through hearts of leaders, and so making absolute distinctions can be difficult; but the difficulty of applying distinctions is no reason to euthanize them…

The best leaders– inspire people, which involves holding before them worthwhile goals and affirming their gifts of humanity, including; their gift of free choice, and in working together to achieve goals… Even when the tactics of coercion are utilized, they must be utilized in a manner that maintains respect for the ‘imago dei’ imprinted on each person. The choice may be for, or against an action with understood consequence, but enabling that choice on the part of followers is an imperative duty of the leader…

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In the article Leadership-Development Programs Fail by Pierre Gurdjian, Thomas Halbeisen, Kevin Lane write: U.S. organizations spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development… Colleges and universities offer hundreds of degree courses on leadership, and the cost of customized leadership-development programs from the top business school can reach over $100K per year/per person… Moreover in a Gallup poll; upward of 500 executives were asked to rank their top three human-capital priorities, and leadership development was included as both a current and a future priority…

In the poll, almost two-thirds of respondents identified leadership development as a number-one concern… also only 7% of executives polled think that their organizations develop ‘good’ leaders effectively… and around 30% of organizations admit that they have failed to exploit their business opportunities fully because they lack enough ‘good’ leaders with the right capabilities… Hence, there are too many training initiatives that rest on the assumption that one size fits all and that same group of skills or style of leadership is appropriate regardless of strategy, organizational culture, executive mandates…

In the article Bad Leadership Happens to Good People by Doug Dickerson writes: Bad leaders are the exception not the rule. One does not have to look far to find examples of bad leaders and that is part of the problem… We tend to find and focus on the bad and ignore the good: Mark Twain aptly said; few things are harder to put-up with than the annoyance of a good example; hence for every– politician, coach, executive, clergy… who give their brand a bad name… there are far more who play by the rules and serve their organizations well…

Since people hold leaders to a higher standard of behavior and service, it becomes the responsibility of leaders to step-up and deliver– even when ‘bad’ leaders happens to be ‘good’ people… Showing goodness is what gives others a reason to believe and do the right thing… According to Phil Taylor; one’s ability to interact in a positive and effective way with others is clearly an most important skill in leadership… However,  when ‘bad’ leaders happens to be ‘good people’, unfortunately they must work harder to overcome their failings, or recognize that they may lack the qualities of a ‘good’ leader…

Majority of good leaders are good people, but sometimes a good leaders lose their way as they rise to the top… Leaders are humans and they can be seduced by many bad things… According to Johns Mendez; ‘power’ is a very corruptible, intoxicating force and it can make a leader lose perspective. Leaders require constant reminding to focus on– good ‘ethic’ behavior and organizational ‘values’, as well as the bottom line… Bad leaders are easily exposed; they are out of touch with reality…

Lousy leaders are everywhere– business, politics, education, government… it’s not very difficult to identify a crisis in leadership… According to Michael Hyatt; characteristics of lousy leaders, include; arrogance, disorganized, over-promise and under-deliver, don’t articulate clear vision, not transparent, blind to their organizations, don’t hold people accountable– especially themselves… Pick your crisis and you’ll usually find one of these traits of a lousy leader in action, often many of them at once…

According to Bill George; the simplistic notions of ‘good or bad’ only clouds an understanding of why a leader  might lose their way– it’s not necessarily because they are bad person, but rather they just don’t have the ‘right’ stuff…

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Very few people go into a leader’s roles to cheat or do evil, yet most people have the capacity for these type actions, unless they stay grounded… Before person considers a leader’s role, they should ask very simple question;

Why be a leader: What’s the purpose? And if the answer is– power, prestige, money… then that leader is at risk of relying heavily on external gratification for fulfillment, which is not necessarily wrong… but there should also be stronger, deeper motivation to improve the sustainability of the organization and make a lasting contribution to all its stakeholders…

Leadership is very difficult, but having– courage, toughness, conviction to do what is ‘right’ for the organization is the sign of the ‘best’ leaders; and the notion of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is a secondary issue…