Thursday, February 5, 2009

As Leadership Models Go, One Size Does Not Fit All

As a proponent of the Charismatic Leadership Model, I believe many of the leadership models popularized today are overly optimistic about human nature. I’ve seen employees take advantage of managers (leaders) who were too kind and went overboard to be empathetic to employee needs. Conversely, I’ve seen managers who were despots become revered by their employees. You can never make bank on the dynamics of individuals in different social/professional settings.

I’m an advocate of first learning the culture of an environment and applying the leadership model best suited for that setting. I also don’t advocate being too “chummy” as you enter the environment. It’s better to enter very strong and later relax as the occasion calls for. To enter trying to be everyone’s friend is a recipe for disaster, particularly, when you have to tighten the screws for discipline later. There is no “one size fits all” for leadership. The personalities and professional level of employees set the stage and the leader acts accordingly.

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