From the earliest recorded leadership teachings of Confucius to contemporary theorists and practitioners, leadership has consistently been viewed as the decisive factor in the success of an organization – be they feudal clans, religious orders, militaries, governments, sports teams, or in today’s context, global commercial organizations. Leadership seems to be the secret sauce which differentiates organizations that languish through lackluster performance cycles and are saddled with uninspiring reputations from those inspiring organizations which repeatedly deliver high performance and earn best-in-class accolades.
Contemporary leadership defined
Leadership is the application of power and example to induce followers to pursue shared objectives which lead to fulfillment of security and survivability needs, and achievement of status aspirations.
Critics caution us to differentiate leader power from mere authority; noble service from self-indulgence or sinister pursuits; and stewardship from showmanship. But, without the power which galvanizes support, energizes, sets direction and controls, we might have amicable yet hungry followers sitting around campfires unable to fire up their iPad and unconcerned about quarterly financials. Leadership is the decisive factor in the success of organizations.
Corporate trap doors snare and derail even exceptional leaders
The playing field on which leaders operate each day tempestuously morphs and mutates. Unaware and unprepared leaders can be caught off guard by situations in which their previously learned lessons provide a faulty road map or no experience base to lead teams and formulate decisions. These situations are corporate trap doors which can open unexpectedly and treacherously to snare unprepared leaders. When these trap doors open, the risk of organizational drama and/or an exceptional executive’s derailment increases precipitously.