Insights from Leaders’ Lunches: Fall/09

By evoke
February 20, 2010

On a periodic basis, Blueprint hosts a lunch at The Spoke Club with leaders from the fields of business, philanthropy, public service and the arts to discuss an issue that is germane to the times.

In our last two lunches, we asked the question “How does leadership need to change, if at all?” The following are the insights from those discussions: Leaders need to share the pain

  • “do as I say, not as I do” is a demoralizing leadership model
  • leading by example not enough in these tough economic times
  • leaders must not only feel the pain, they must be seen to be feeling the pain

The ability to inspire is becoming an essential executive skill

  • achieving numbers and competent management is no longer enough
  • executives need to give people a sense of purpose to capitalize on their natural desire to be a part of a cause
  • a “cash value” of inspiring is motivating people to higher productivity without pay increases and other costly incentives

Leaders need a strong perspective on where the business is going, and need to communicate a simple and compelling story about that direction

  • to be motivated to stay with the organization, people need to see where the company is going and how they fit in
  • leaders need to illuminate the higher good, common cause that gives everyone a sense of purpose
  • they need to have the desire and patience to continuously sell and resell the story

Leaders’ ability to inspire is dependent on them having integrity, and to be seen to have integrity

  • they need to be open, honest and transparent
  • no “spin”, no corporate speak as people can see right through it
  • leaders with humility are better listeners, more inclusive
  • they admit to gaps in their own leadership and hire to fill them
  • they don’t demand people follow (old model), they create a culture of leadership (new model)

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