Is a New Leadership Model Forming?

January 17, 2018

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Today’s Leadership Minute was written by: Clarke Price, CAE, Ohio Society of CPAs President/CEO (retired) and a Founder of our Ross Leadership Institute.

Is a new model of effective leadership developing? Is the blunt, say what you’re thinking, it’s OK to embarrass for effect, and aggressively attack your critics style that some of our political leaders apply, going to become acceptable behavior for all leaders?

At the outset, let me say clearly and loudly I HOPE NOT! Effective leaders have always had a tendency to be blunt — but respectful. Yes, many leaders have been outspoken, but without the vindictiveness and mean-spirit that is so often part of today’s political dialogue. If leadership devolves into name-calling and callous disregard for the truth and established fact, then organizations of every type will devolve into the warring factions that seem to define both the Congress and our political parties. And as a result, we will likely see a degree of polarization that will stifle creativity and progress toward organizational goals.

I assume it’s clear that I’m not a fan of the style our President applies in his role as the nation’s leader. I won’t deny that fact. My concern is that this style may become “acceptable” and then be adopted by other leaders as they speak out and try to move issues forward.

I’ve been involved in several conversations recently where people have praised the President for his blunt talk and his willingness to attack those who oppose him. When I’ve asked whether that same bluntness would be acceptable or good for the organizations we deal with every day, membership associations and other organizations, corporate leaders and local government leaders, I’m concerned by the number of people who’ve answered with “yes” or “maybe.” That tells me the extreme leadership behaviors of the President are becoming normalized and acceptable. To me, it means the concept of what is acceptable to be an effective leader could be heading for a change that at least this observer considers a dramatic step backward.

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