Thursday, March 5, 2009

A lot of people talk about leadership; not that many actually do it

A friend (of a friend) recently returned from Insead, a respected international business school near Paris. The school is led by Frank Brown, who spent 25 years with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

He contends that while "a lot of people talk about leadership... not that many actually do it." In fact, he says, many "leaders" are leaders in name only (LINO).

"In my view LINOs don’t really want your opinion, they don’t really want your input, they don’t really want you on their team. They’d like you to go away and do your job. There is a failing of CEOs that surround themselves with people who aren’t as smart as they are and therefore they think they’re ensuring they’re going to stay in the top spot, but in reality they’re setting themselves and their teams up for failure."

Brown believes that leaders need to assemble teams (or coaching staffs) "with differing skills and backgrounds."

"Diversity is an absolute necessity for a team, and when I say diversity, I mean it in every sense of the word: gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, culture, personality type (and) area of expertise. You’ve got to surround yourself with people that are diverse, have very, very broad perspectives in terms of educational background, in terms of their cultural background."