This Week's Herman Trend Alert

in Normal 2.0


  The Herman Trend Alert

May 29, 2002

Dearth of Leadership

Organizations are populated by an abundance of managers, and hampered by a dangerous dearth of leaders. Profit making companies, not-for profit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies alike are all affected.

What's the difference? The definition we've used for years in our speeches and writing is that we manage things, and lead people. It's impossible to lead things and you can't really "manage" people---not anymore. This classic definition has grown to be more relevant in recent years as the directive style of autocratic management has become less effective.

The demands of our rapidly changing operating environment have substantially increased the demands and expectations of leaders; leaders can no longer afford to operate exclusively in the short term.

Present-day concerns focus on how leaders work with people to help them realize their fullest potential. Productivity is an issue, of course, but the harvest of talent goes even further. High performing leaders learn all about each of their team members. They discover their talents, interests, and opportunities. And they envision their potential. Those valued leaders then concentrate on supporting each person to reach his or her potential through learning, experiences, coaching, and mentoring.

This role of the leader is emerging as vital as employers seek to focus on working more closely with "A" players and growing "B" players. "C" players are marginal. Good leaders give "D" players "creative career redirection opportunities." Leaders must know how to evaluate their people, build the ones who matter, and say good-bye to those who don't belong in the organization. Too few leaders can even do an effective evaluation, let alone fulfill the other responsibilities.

The future component of leadership is the ability to steer the organization toward future success. This role involves a high level of understanding of relevant trends, the ability to interpret them, and the capacity to engage in legitimate long-range planning. Visionary leadership is critically needed today, yet most leaders only target the bottom line for the next reporting period.

Forecast: A growing number of books on leadership will be published this year encouraging leaders think-and act-strategically.

Comments from our readers:

Thanks for sending Trend Alert! I get tons of email of which much is deleted. I always take time to read yours. I find it very helpful.

Danny Mitchell

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