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Another GOP debate has come and gone and the post-debate analysis has been unavoidable. Donald Trump threw his weight around, Carly Fiorina went for deadly focus, Rand Paul for principled outsider, and Jeb Bush conveyed… mystification at Trump’s very existence. It was an interesting debate; one that gave us a glimpse in the leadership styles of the GOP candidates. So in the spirit of the times, today we’re talking leadership.
What makes a great leader?
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Well… not that.
John Manning says integrity isn’t an old-fasioned leadership value — it’s a vital part of being a good leader today. Manning argues that leadership fads have moved attention away from the core of meaningful leadership, and that we need to get back to basics.
What do washrooms say about company culture? A lot, says Robin Schooling. While low level employees share a murky, rarely-cleaned single bathroom (with no paper! somehow, there is never paper), executives enjoy swank, private accommodations. Of course hard work should be rewarded, even in more egalitarian work environments, but Schooling smartly quotes Orwell: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Is a good leader brash? No, says Joseph Ottorino. Is a good leader always confident, always sure they’re right, and always front and centre? Nope, nope, and nope. Ottorino says that a good leader knows they’ll be wrong sometimes, relies on their team’s expertise and strengths, and accepts that failure doesn’t have to be catastrophic — it’s part of the process of growing a business.
Jeffrey Pfeffer is the outlier on leadership this week. In an interview with Forbes, he points out that the “leadership industry” finds it convenient to ignore the less palatable qualities of leaders, and the less than nice strategies they employ to rise to the top.
“One of the dilemmas in leadership is that the qualities and behaviors that make individuals successful in their careers—narcissism and self-aggrandizement, the ability to prevaricate with skill and without remorse, skill in acting and presenting oneself in ways that may not be how one is feeling at the time, among others—are qualities and behaviors that do not necessarily produce great group results or healthy workplaces.”
Harvard Business Review is talking HR again! Oh dear. But this time they’re talking about how HR leaders can and do succeed: by focusing on fundamentals of leadership, transparency, accountability, and research-based recruiting. Wow, that’s some turnaround from last month’s doom-saying.