Exercising Leadership

In the last twenty years there are new perspectives on both structure and process.

Remember all those wonderful software programs in the eighties that allowed one to design org charts. You don’t see as many of them these days, but the charts that they developed still hang around in our consciousness. It might be better to put the leader in the centre rather than at the top. I actually saw a chart like this as a model for an Arts Company in the nineties. A the centre was a split circle with the music director and general manager. Surrounding them in concentic circles were the core musiciams, the extras, the technical crews, the marketers – all with key tasks but with different roles and responsibilities. Arts projects are like that – highly specialized configurations of talent and skills brought together in appropriate roles and time trames with a focus on the creation. We are a long way from that in other worlds but the possibility is there.

Titles matter less, responsibilities more. Self-management is key. The suggestion is that it may matter more to manage up and across than down. Direct reports can come last if the others are management tasks are working well.So much depends on the people – the right people in the right seats.

Helping people to face reality may be the real task of leadership. And so often it means asking the right questions rather than having the right answers. In that regard, the reminder that “What you see is all there is” also comes to mind. So we have to have good research and honest advice. Both require hard work both in acquiring and receiving them

 

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