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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Leadership Personal Response—Self Preservation

This is the 4th of a series of posts based on my review of Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading ((Harvard Business School Press, 2002).

Of all the books I’ve read and reviewed on leadership, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading would be one of the top 10 books I’d recommend to any leader—from first line manager to CEO.

Managing your hungers/desires:

--The easiest way to get taken out by an organization or a faction is to take out yourself! Play into their unconscious and sometimes conscious trap.

--Don’t forget that this is a courageous battle. You need to take care of yourself physically (stay in shape), mentally (have confidants and allies), spiritually (believe in what your doing and something above yourself) and intellectually (rationally see what’s going on—get on the balcony).

Watch out for your own desires...we all have needs that can get in the way:

1. Power and Control—power and control are natural. Can be from up bringing, your work experience, this particular working issue (chaotic and demanding you take control).

2. Taking charge to quickly and with too much gusto can create a counter pressure from the organization that gets thrown into disequilibrium.

3. Be careful NOT to be the white knight heroically coming in to save the day…you can get too carried away with the rush of recognition and thrill of saving the day. People and organizations give you power to service them…if you over-reach too quickly and take too much delight in being in the spotlight…the organization can take away your power…it’s derived from the group…not you!!

--Affirmation and importance:

1. We all want to be needed, but be extremely careful of a kind of narcissistic need to be right…and the one who can solve any problem.

2. Believing you can solve anyone’s problems develops an exaggerated need in them to actually seek out problems they can solve.

3. Others begin to not challenge them…and then a problem sneaks up on that leader and undoes them. Avoid grandiosity, which can isolate you from others…and set you up for unreasonable expectations and a downturn.

4. It’s OK to tackle tough organizational questions (especially when you build a coalition to help you fight the ubiquitous status quo, but just don’t be so brash as to think you can take on the world alone—you can’t and you’ll fail.

--Intimacy:

1. We all need and want intimacy. We’re pack animals and tribal by nature.

2. Power is an aphrodisiac…people, both men and women are attracted to it.

3. Both men and women in power can abuse it. Office affairs and overly deep relationships with subordinates can creep up by a leaders need to be wanted and adored. Remember, people are attracted to your power, not usually you. See how many of them are around when you’re

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