Is leadership a thing of the past?

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Calm coherence and consistency in the tasks of the General Manager or CEO of a company, are not common features of the corporate world prevailing in our culture nowadays. Like a dinosaur that refuses to give up its seat of power, leadership is still understood in connection with power rather than service. It is a growing concern in the analysis and study of corporate management and especially in the field of corporate governance, the behavioral excesses that the present leadership culture originates in many General Managers in the world: being surrounded “yes men and women!”, CEOs are considered the only architects of the successes and lashers of those who are responsible for the failures; the CEOs appropriation of the benefits and incomes over their true market value and the minimum sense of fairness to the detriment of the rest of employees of the company, especially the lower echelon workers; the exploitation of relationships with strategic suppliers to receive the benefits of being congratulated by the Board of Directors in the short term by receiving juicy bonuses; to commit their word with such liberality that, in the same manner as they make their promises, they unilaterally change their commitments both in time and in form, they may even take them back. All this is the product of our present leadership culture, which still dominates the class rooms in the business administration teaching world. Undoubtedly this leadership vision does not explicitly encourage these dissonant practices, but they are the natural outcome of the set of emotions on which this notion of leadership over reason is based and the interests that are embodied by the head of an organization, who receives the power from its Board of Directors, that only hopes that he will get the expected results. Fortunately, there are greenshoots predicting changes, not matter how marginal they are. Companies that are aware of the excesses in the behavior of these CEOs have implemented, sometimes by the own initiative of these heads that understand the risks of wielding so much power, annual report systems for their Board of Directors, where the reports of the CEOs anonymously assess the good and bad characteristics of the way their boss guides the team and the company that the Board of Directors has requested them; therefore, the organization and the General Manager himself may have the checks and balances to avoid the head losing the focus of acting with coherence and calm to confirm, serve and nurture the company’s teams.

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