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Leadership Diseases and the Remedy

Gary Hamel in his latest HBR article has shared his take-away's in corporate speak from Pope Francis's one of the recent addresses to the Roman Curia (the Cardinals and other officials who are charged with running the church’s network of administrative bodies).

As Gary describes, organizational leaders are constantly called upon to improve and to grow in rapport and wisdom, in order to carry out the corporate mission and deliver the strategic & operational goals.

But, the leadership often suffers from "diseases and temptations" which can dangerously weaken the effectiveness of any organization. Gary has spelled out 15 such diseases.

I chose a critical few of them (potentially more relevant than others basis my own experiences and various interactions with others on the topic of leadership excellence)

1. Not being self-critical (including not listening to / acknowledging the feedback from other stakeholders)

2. Not having human sensitivity (humility, sincerity) and lacking the warmth of human relationships (humor, joyfulness, enthusiasm)

3. Not having spontaneity and serendipity (versus being rigidly driven by excessive planning and functionalism)

4. Being driven by self well being (perks, titles, power, growth, coterie) versus larger interest of others and the organization at large

The reality of today's corporate world - most of the managers and leaders ail from several (or at-least one) of these diseases.

So, what's the remedy!?

As Gary also highlights, the beginning point is a diagnosis. As a leader, one needs to understand if there's any ailment, what exactly is the problem, as well as the gravity of the situation. And, one needn't go very far off to an external doctor (aka leadership coaches), take leadership tests etc.

Just seek honest feedback from your stakeholders (peers, sub-ordinates, seniors, business partners, customers, suppliers), BUT not your coterie.

If you haven't asked for it in the past - initial response would be that of surprise (or may be even shock), skepticism, fear (especially from the sub-ordinates). Infact, you might not hear anything in the first go, or get to hear back only a tip of the iceberg (hopefully, it's not so bad) - but if you sincerely listen and demonstrate taking corrective actions - don't be surprised - people will tell you more.

And, in my experience - people will tell not just the things which are not working, but also what's good about you. Take pride in those positives (and leverage them as antibodies), while embarking on a journey of becoming fit and getting rid of your diseases.

What other bigger ailments leaders of today suffer from!?. And, what remedies would you like to suggest!?

Note - This post was originally published on linkedin.

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