It seems that reading "Peopleware" has made me even more aware allergic to the overall stupidity and brainlessness of typical, iconic (dilbertian?) corporate world. I didn't plan to spend several blog posts on these topics, but it was the sheer reality that has made me to. Anyway, sorry for that - it's the last one of the series. And I'm getting back to more technical writing next.
Warning! This posts contains *shitloads* of irony. Use with caution.
But for that (tech blogging) actually happens, few worlds about the ...
What does leadership usually mean in the corporate world?
First - there always have to be a leader. Being a leader is cool, because you can add it to your mails' signature or put it on LinkedIn ... And it gives you the right to put yourself above anyone who'd like to contribute in this particular area.
Obviously, the leader is the one who has the strongest position within the organization. Drive is not needed, ideas are not needed, leadership skills (or any other skills) neither - the seniority is the key.
The mail duty of the leader is ... defending (& enjoying) his leadership. It means:
- making sure that no-one is able to question his leadership
- routing every communication through himself and requiring his own approval for everything
- strategically putting himself as a source of every initiave, so he gets the credit he clearly deserves (because he's a leader, right?)
Being a leader is not about making any particular kind of effort (except maintaining control) - you're already a leader, so the main target has already been achieved, right? Now you can focus on becoming a leader in something else as well. Neat, more joy on the way.
Leaders require everyone around to respect them - and they deserve respect because:
- they have been hired before you
- they have all those fancy acronyms in their mail signatures
- they've made a shakehand with a CEO once
- several years ago they've done something - no-one really remembers what, but that had to be huge
So leaders don't have to contribute anymore. They've earned their badges already.
The thing leaders sometimes do is creating a strategy.
Strategy is some kind of presentation (PPTX preferred) that:
- uses as many buzzwords as possible
- have been prepared once and sent as an attachments few times, but no-one has revisited its content since 2007
- quotes internal PoVs & Gartner reports that indicate how important this particular topic is
- docompose the topic into diagrams with myriads of meaningless blocks, arrows, pie-slices and other cr@p
Strategy is the final accomplishment of the leader - if it looks smart enough (many citations from Gartner) & it has a sufficient number of slides, no-one will dare to criticize it.
The executation of the strategy? It's a low-level dirt leader should never stain his shoes with. It's always those plain, crude pawns that screw the thing up - waste such a beautiful strategy, the masterpiece of leader's mind.
Erghm? What kind of community? There are leaders and there are the executors of leaders' will - it's such simple. Everyone knows that only leaders are capable of inventing something valuable. Other ones should not dare to step out of line - they are far too dumb for that. And even if they are right - how would that make the leader look alike?
If someone gets too active & cocky, the leader has to find a way to stop him and put him back in the crowd: the policy, executive's direct influence, sometimes just a public trashing. They have to understand that being a leader means being ahead of all the simpletons, the larger the distance the better.
As a leader you've been already here for ages when this new-guy was hired! And who cares that 7 years have already passed since then... You still remember him writing his first module - how lousy it was! Surely he can't do anything properly nowadays as well.
The final word
Seriously, I know how ridiculous it looks like, but there ARE people who think that way. And behave that way. Many people. On daily basis.
In my opinion they are just pest. They constrain the potential of the company, they bottleneck every initiative, they block (or even kill) the activity and drive of others.
Hopefully even the largest enterprises with the highest organizational inertia will move more towards lean thinking and such pathetic creatures will become history. The sooner, the better. Just think a bit about why the greatest ideas of modern era are born in modern, agile/lean-oriented companies / divisions.
Is my purpose to flog the general idea of leadership? Of course not! Leadership is absolutely awesome, as long as you understand what it truly means.