Tactics never produce leaders
Managers are often thrust into their positions through promotion with little understanding of what it takes to really affect those they have been given the mandate to lead (I have been on both sides of this experience). We carry on habits and conditioning learned from our previous managers or leaders who themselves went through this experience. Certainly people break this process and provide evolutionary change to leadership, or at least management, but the vast majority of us are not exposed to these people or ideas. Simply put, leadership is incorrectly approached as another job responsibility, like learning a new software package or acquainting ourselves with company policy. This is unfair and sets people up to fail.Leadership should be thought of as parenthood, it is not a slight change in what we do but a transformation in how we think. Hence, just as great parents can come from anywhere, everyone has the potential to be a good leader and contribute to collective progress.
The notion that leaders are a gift to us to meekly follow is only real to those who wish to maintain control. Instead, leadership is participatory, it is for everyone. Conventional business practice is to put people through some sort of schooling or people will read books on leadership and generally become 'educated' in the topic. We treat it like something that is taught and retained. This fallacy is threefold: 1. The belief that leadership is an external piece of knowledge that has to be learned is a major failure since accumulating and layering knowledge is what interferes with your real ability to lead, or more importantly, share and inspire. 2. The notion that using tactics to manipulate and control people will provide the desired result. 3. Our own denial in the ineffectiveness of tactics.
We need to get back to fundamentals in leadership. Things like:
- Removing Self-importance (e.g. humility, a trip far past the shallow ego)
- Emotional availability (e.g. compassion, vitality)
- Conscious communication
- Balanced boundary management
Are some of these items learned ? Possibly, but I believe that to manifest these qualities we need to unlearn bad habits rather than layer more knowledge into our heads. We have made amazing discoveries in medicine and physical science but have not been able to figure out how to get people to come to work happy. I think we need to unlearn a lot of things rather than learn more.