Leadership, Partners, Resources

Lip Sync Leadership

An interesting piece from the Stratford Social Innovation Review today that relates to some leaders I know, including myself not too many years ago. Here’s a taste:

Let me tell you about this guy I know. He’s a young, energetic nonprofit leader in his field and in his extensive volunteer work as well. We are about the same age, but our leadership styles are so different. Not to say that my style of leadership is perfect, just that I get put off by the way he works. He acts like a Baby Boomer stuck in a Gen Y body, choosing to follow hierarchy versus letting the team decide. In meetings, he behaves like an older CEO of a large nonprofit who can’t be bothered with the opinions of people lower on the totem pole.
The article compares the leader above to Milli Vanilli and their Grammy scandal from a couple decades ago. The point is that many leaders are so busy trying to be what they think they’re supposed to be, that they aren’t true to their own character. There are some valid points, but I think the generational emphasis is misplaced. As our friends at Next Level Leadership do an excellent job of reminding us, leaders go through common stages of development as they mature. Those who learn to derive their power from deeper sources become able to be more sincere and authentic; whatever their age, and whatever their style. I’d love for the leader above to be walked through Janet Hagberg’s excellent book Real Power by someone with the maturity and insight to guide. If that was to happen, he might very well gain the confidence to sing his own songs.