The recent post on LI discussing the two primary varieties of manager/leaders, multipliers and diminishers really cut to the chase of much is wrong with our current leadership models.

There were probably at least three or four other articles ranging from perplexed to angry about why we are not seeing more organizations proactively embracing employee engagement given that the data is in and leaves no doubt as to the performance of aligned versus unaligned contributors.

Just today Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford took his part time colleague Joel Peterson to the woodshed for describing a leadership culture that Pfeffer says there is clear evidence doesn’t exist in the business environment today.

Since I subscribe to the theory of Most Positive Interpretation in gauging the actions of others I see Peterson as describing what could or should be, not a Pollyanna description of what is in fact happening.

We have made very little meaningful progress in climbing the engagement curve over the last ten years. Part of it was I believe the recession which allowed a lot of organizations to slip back into bad habits as unemployment increased and they could be more selective.

Part of it is we still are fully deploying the implementation of new leadership models on our training and graduate schools. We still have a pronounced bias towards managing human capital rather than people.

I get it. Managing people is hard. You have to do the work. Just yesterday in an advanced leadership program I am teaching one of the participants announced “I am starting to get that this coaching thing is really important, but Christ it is hard work!”

Coaching is about being a multiplier, the idea that employees singularly and in groups have tremendous additional potential and that you can tap into by asking questions rather than giving directions and providing autonomy rather than being overly structured.

My colleague Ryan Estis published a great post that reinforces this idea with four simple steps to create a high performing culture and personal accountability:

·         Set Clear Expectations

·         Check In Frequently and Give Feedback

·         Lead by Example (this is what Pfeffer was talking about)

·         Be Consistent which means fair

There a zillion different leadership models out there for the newbie to become perplexed by so I really like the idea of breaking it down to two- do you multiply or diminish?

What do you think….?



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