Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sustaining Illusions of Leadership

The appearance of moral authority and even a sacred aura at the top of the hierarchy is essential to sustain the privileges of leadership. -- Jeffrey S. Nielsen, (2004) The Myth of Leadership
In all-too-many an organization in this U.S. of A, there is often little more that shouts “Leadership!” than a big, big salary. This is like confusing a rectal syringe with a thermometer.

There is a two-way superstition at work here. When organizations are successful, their leadership gets the most of the credit, even when luck plays a major role in that success. (See Marshall Goldsmith on The Success Delusion.) When businesses do not succeed, their leaders are not infrequently sacrificed -- especially in professional sports -- to the misfortunes that have befallen them. (See also, G. I. Kolev, Pay for Luck in CEO Compensation: Evidence of Illusion of Leadership?)

Some theorists have emphasized subordinating purely internal goals to integration into the community where the organization is located. Many business leaders and even leaders of public institutions disagree, emphasizing that the business of their business is their own business: even after they have asked for public assistence.

For references and to examine these issues further, see Philip Selznick, LEADERSHIP IN ADMINISTRATION


Cordially
--- EGR