|In the last 20 years or so there have been a number of trends, fads and concepts that have served to break the bond between a corporation and its employees, at a huge cost to both.
There are 5 key concepts, this is the second
Dumb Concept #2: "Leadership"
A few years before he died, Peter Drucker was interviewed on NPR. In that interview, he pointed out what should be obvious to everyone — that all this talk about "leadership" is a bunch of horse manure.
Yeah, yeah, the idea of leadership sounds neat — especially if you're in management — and it makes a manager sound all charismatic and exciting.
But what is a "leader," anyway? What does a "leader" do?
I can't hear the term without thinking of the leader of a marching band. That's the person who takes a big stick and makes it go up and down, while the band does the work of actually making the music.
One reason I think of that image is that, in my experience, most of the time the "leader" of the team is the person who found a parade and then got out in front of it. (I once heard an executive in Fortune 50 company describe that odious behavior as "smart business practice.")
The concept of a "leader" means that credit for what the team does goes to the leader. And you see it every day, in the bloated salaries paid to "business leaders" and in the ridiculous way that some CEOs parade themselves as if they were rock stars.
You see it in the lower levels, too, where managers bloviate about leadership and "inspiring" people, when in fact they're usually just making everyone under them want to puke.
What Drucker said — and I agree with him — is that the business world doesn't need leaders. It needs managers — people who can actually manage a team of people.
Being a manager means being in service to the team. It means giving the team credit and making everyone else successful.
So, as we go forward, let's stop enabling all these tin-pot "leaders" by pretending that they're doing anything other than grandstanding. Let's value the real managers, who actually do the hard (and largely thankless) work of making other people productive.