Where the Wizard of Oz Went Wrong

The autocratic leadership style of the Wizard of Oz

This is the continuation to a previous post I wrote for PIC: Are you the Wizard of Oz? The man behind the curtain? Would you know?

What is so wrong with sitting in a castle issuing orders to your loyal legions of munchkins? Nothing if you are the Wizard of Oz.  But if you are a leader in 2012, it’s time to move beyond the top down, autocratic leadership style of the Wizard.

So where did the Wizard go wrong?

  1. Too much mystery.  Most leaders don’t speak through fog machines and projectors but they do cloak themselves in unnecessary levels of mystery. I’m not advocating complete open kimono here but on the other hand its okay for people to see a picture of you besides those air brushed corporate shots
  2. He never left the Emerald City.  This applies to everyone, especially leaders. Yes, I know you spend most of your day in meetings but you should make it a priority to leave your office at some point during the day.  It is a good thing for people to see you out and about.  You can accomplish this by doing things like taking the employee elevator, not the express elevator to the executive floor. Try eating lunch in the cafeteria instead of sitting in your office every day; you would be surprised what you hear in the lunch line
  3. He communicated one way.  The wizard only spoke (really ordered) through his projector.  If you are still communicating to your employees the same way you did ten years ago, it’s time to diversify.  Have you noticed the date on your calendar? Its 2012 not 1992.  There are a variety of new ways to communicate: video conferencing, SharePoint sites, wiki’s, social media, the list goes on… You are not being paid to sit in your comfort zone all day, try something new!

The above advice is just the tipping point.  I am by no means an expert on leadership; I can tell you that the best leaders I have seen are the authentic people who get out and engage with people.  They listen to new ideas and don’t eschew the latest technology as a “fad”.   It’s easy to stay in your office behind the curtain but you should evaluate yourself  or you could find a little dog tugging at your heels that isn’t afraid of smoke and lights.

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Melissa Fairman

Melissa Fairman is the author of the blog HR Remix and has five years experience working in HR. She's super awesome and has an MBA with an HR concentration from Baldwin Wallace College and a PHR certification from the HRCI institute. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter at @HRRemix.


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