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January 2008
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Leadership this Leap Year

Over the past 10-15 years there has been a significant shift in business from the emphasis on management to developing leadership skills.  To be sure, there is a considerable overlap between the two.  Here are some thoughts on what tomorrow’s organizational leaders will face:
•    The emerging generation does not want to be “managed” and they’re not as impressed with the authority that in the past has been attached to a position. More than ever, authority must be earned along with respect.  My parents’ generation obeyed authority without much question, after all those people in authority were the experts.  My birth cohorts questioned authority more, realizing that somehow a lot of jerks made it into power positions.  Now we have a generation arising which has been fertilized with the importance of self esteem and they are less likely to ascribe honor to people whose behavior does not warrant honor.
•    “Fake it 'til you make it,” has given way to “Get real you _____.”  You have to be authentic these days to lead well.  People will generally forgive your faults if you expose and acknowledge them, provided that you are not doing so as a part of some manipulative game you are playing.
•    Fear is in decline as the motivator of choice.  These people have not grown up with the oppression of the Great Depression, a World War, or imminent nuclear annihilation.  They’re not free from fear, but you’d be wise to not use fear as a leadership or management tool.
•    The world is now being shaped increasingly by people in their 30’s and 40’s.  Get used to it and join in.  It’s fun.
•    Leading is not about you and your insecure ego.  It’s about you helping others find and achieve their dreams and goals.  Insecurity may be the strongest repellent on the planet these days.
•    Servant leadership will be discussed and promoted more and more.  Some will actually practice its tenets.
•    The greatest obstacle to women moving up the ladder today is other women.  I marvel at the lack of mentoring and the absence of any desire middle aged women generally have toward helping younger females in the work place.

There’s more, but this is a blog, not a textbook.

Happy Leap Day!


Learning from Barack

060 Michele Miller has a great article over at Future Now discussing Barack Obama's communication style and why he seems to be hitting such a chord with voters when Hillary was expected to run away with the nomination.  Here's a freshman senator in the thick of the race for President.  No, this is not a political endorsement for Obama, but we can all learn some things from him.

His campaign theme, "Yes We Can!"  Simple. Positive. Inclusive.  He's making his campaign about you rather than about himself.  It has a collective rather than individualistic theme.  He and/or his advisers have an awareness of the emerging culture.

Look at Barack's website.  Then look at McCain's.  And Hillary's.  See the difference?

Read Michele's article.  Then consider your own marketing.  Is it all about you?  The Clinton mystique and communication style worked in the 90's.  But this is a watershed year for cultural change.  What used to work is no longer working.  Have you been noticing this at all? 

Study what's working.

And change.