Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tenured Leadership

It has been a while since I wrote about some leadership principles that I discover while plodding through the daily grind. I have recently revisited the concept of consistent and tenured leadership. Given the current upheaval in government with a bipartisan and ineffective Congress coupled with a diminished President, now is the time to find leaders that know how to plan for the long-haul and can keep the organization steady during turbulent times.

Good leaders have tenure. They are stay in place and they develop depth and understanding in the subject and more importantly the people they lead. Good leaders are prepared to accept the consequences of their decisions in five years--fully expecting to be the leader that made the decisions or sponsored the decisions. That is hard to comprehend in a society and work paradigm that promotes changing leaders every two to three years. Yet, when I look at some very senior leaders, I find that the best ones have been in place for many years and their organizations have continued to excel, despite the paradigm that suggests changing leaders is essential.

Leaders who stay in place are committed to building teams and team leaders who are in place for the long haul. The idea of making a mark is measured in terms of years of consistent success rather than a single big splash in the pool of work life.  We have become a society of the quick-win! Ugh! Quick wins are a facade and are not a barometer of long term success.

Successful long-term tenured leaders must be committed to continual evolution and improvement rather than looking for and snapping off the "low-hanging fruit" to get a quick win so they can declare success before moving on to another job. Leaders for the long-term develop a culture of innovation and change enabling the organization or team to stay ahead of the technologies that affect their business line.

Don't misunderstand, the infusion of new ideas and business approaches from outside the organization is critical. An organization will wither from deficient innovation and failing to maintain its mission lead. But, the infusion of new ideas and practices does not occur through revolving door leaders. It happens when an organization is committed to learning, leaning forward, and developing tradecraft. 

Leaders set the tone and the ethos for an organization, but it is truly the team that encourages innovation and not leadership change for he sake of change. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD



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