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fearless leadership

Here are the opening paragraphs of a longer article:

Organizations are only as good as the people inside. Yet the organizations and the people are under increasing stress. Do more with less. Cut costs. Do the same work with fewer people. Order supplies “just in time.” Skip training – there’s no time or money. Check your email, texts, and social media 24/7. We have entered a time when managers can be asked repeatedly to cut costs, people, and resources without loss of quality.

Many people in organizations that I work with can no longer tell me when the workday ends or even when the workweek begins. The main behavior at lunch or in meetings is the head bent down to check the latest electronic message. The pressure increases as boards and agencies create unfunded mandates and demand measureable results in shorter timeframes. Complexity increases as decisions made across the street and around the world have equal impact on operations. Forget what you know about employee engagement, the value of training and development, about making decisions from core values. Just get it done.

In the face of pressure and uncertainty, leaders want to solve, fix, and inspire. Many believe that if only they work harder or learn the latest management techniques, they can address the difficult challenges. They act from a genuine desire to help, to save the system and people around them. They fight the urge to revert to command and control management. But they end up exhausted by demands from above and dissatisfaction below.

But there is a choice: to be a fearless leader.

Click here to read more about fearless leadership.

What’s your story about leadership in the face of complexity and uncertainty?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I always feel so renewed, encouraged when I read your work. Strains of P. Drucker, T. Peters… and then I go to work and see the harsh realities of the bottom 10 – 20%, the fully committed slugs, slackards, and malcontents. I want to fearlessly lead the other 80% and of course start a task force work group of some of the top 5 or 10%. But the reality, in a number of organizations in which I’ve been, is that without a solid dose of Jack Welch, (Chainsaw) Al Dunlap, and my buddy N. Machiavelli the anchors keep the ship …well, anchored. Of course Welch and Dunlap did their work in the private sector while Niccolo hoped his Prince would return him from the private sector to the public. Even tougher is the public sector where the anchors are institutionalized, even written into law or negotiated agreements. But still, Drucker and Peters and yes FriesenGroup remain a beacon on the organizational hill.

    March 24, 2013
    • Friesen Group #

      Thank you for your comment, John. “Institutionalized anchors” – a vivid image – exist in many organizations. And, As you say, not everyone has positional power. The question for those who would lead is, “What is possible from where you stand?”

      March 25, 2013

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