Leadership

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leading without authorityWhy is leadership portrayed in terms of how managers manage people? How can you be said to LEAD people when you have the authority to tell them what to do? Business leadership is often portrayed as a decision making exercise. The CEO decides what to do and that is called leadership. 

If someone asks whether you are a leader you might say  no because you don't have that sort of role. To make matters worse, you may look up to leaders to such an extent that you don't think you could ever be one yourself. 

Heroic LeadersOur primary image of the leader comes from the military. Great leaders have always been heroes, especially military heroes. Hero worship is OK if it inspires us to greater heights. But bad if it disempowers us, making us dependent on heroes. Military heroes know where to go and how to get there so can lead from the front. Organizations today need everyone thinking about new directions to pursue.

Advocates of servant leadership have admirable values and aims. It is thus unfortunate that they confuse the meaning of leadership with its application. We need a different concept, one that everyone can accept: the post-heroic manager.

Leadership can only be shown by influencing people to think or act differently, either by promoting a better way or by example. A green leader promotes sustainable energy use, for instance.