At the Intersection of Leadership and Politics

I posted this comment in response to a post by Jon Currie on the new Linkedin group Wholehearted Leadership.  Thought I’d share it.  The post was:

We need more common sense and less rule structure to truly be leaders. Boundaries, of course. But not brick walls. Thoughts? (I’m fragile, be nice). Manager’s Choice

Owner, CEO, Currie Communications, Inc.Top Contributor

Jon: I have been interested for some time in the intersection of leadership and politics. Your question made me think about the rule aspect. Political culture influences the extent to which trust and relaxed rules exist at work. In minimally and moderately political divisions or organizations (where there’s more trust), rules tend to be less intrusive than in highly and pathologically political ones. I wonder if taking on a leadership role in an organization that is pathological precludes reducing the rules. In other words, once things have gotten that bad (people watching their backs) is there any turning back to a more relaxed approach? Is there a type of leader who can do this more effectively than others?

Also, here’s an interesting article about reframing failure as growth on the route to leadership.  “The Re-Education of Jim Collins” (Inc.) on his visits to West Point.  He observed that the cadets were happy despite tremendous pressure and experiencing repeated failures in their efforts to reach difficult goals.  He began to look at a three prongs in the development of leaders like those developed at West Point.  Winning or succeeding, he observed, is not everything.

Excerpt:  As the plane descended into Newark’s airport, Collins took out a piece of paper and drew a triangle. One point he labeled success, another growth, and the third service. Those three corners of the triangle, he sensed, held an answer to the paradox he had observed in the culture of West Point.


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