Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Leadership is Really "You First"

Believing you have superior knowledge and/or experience does not make you a leader. You may have title and position over others, but labels do not translate into leadership. In the "sad but true" department," I recently spoke with the administrator at a pretty small firm whose one and only partner is a fine example for our topic today.

The administrator's firm once boasted four attorneys. Now it has but one. The partner fancies himself a great leader and he blusters and busies himself by micromanaging the efforts of everyone. Surely his own work and personal discipline would serve as a great example for his associates.... Wrong! When he's not telling others how to do their work he is at the office of a friend down the hall chatting away. He's even left specific instructions that if a client calls he is not to be disturbed; "tell them I'm in a meeting."

This example is a bit extreme, but what is happening here happens all the time all around us. INCLUDING at your firm!

Martha Lagace, a Senior Editor at HBS Working Knowledge published an excellent article this week called The Zen of Management Maintenance: Leadership Starts with Self-Discovery. What she points out is leadership food for us all.

The follower of a good leader is filled with faith and trust. I think one of my tasks this week will be to explore leadership schools and training programs to find out which ones focus on building a healthy "self."