Does the act of leadership need to change?

I had “fun” and learned a lot at the Toastmasters District 7 Leadership meeting today in Wilsonville, OR (for more info, see agenda at:  http://tr.im/JV5L).  The opening session was title “The Magnificent 7-1/2: Effective Leadership in Turbulent Times” by Erick Rainey, who is a professional coach, trainer and master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).  He gave a list of 7 competencies that leaders need to master.  But what intrigued me was how he started this discussion.  He broke down the word leadership into 2 parts:  first being “leader” and the second being “ship”.  One of the definitions he used to described “leader” is to be in front.  Which I believe is very true, a leader must have a vision and be in front of his “team” to guide them to that vision.

As for the second word “ship“, we know that to use a ship to work, the ship must be in good repair and well maintained to be able to withstand (i.e. float) both calm and turbulent waters.  It should also be outfitted with correct parts so that it can float (i.e. be used) safely.  This is also true with leadership.  There was mention that there are several words that end in “ship”, such as friendship, membership, championship, etc.  One thread that these words that end in “ship” all have in common is the need to be involved or interact with others. 

I took that thought and blended with a thought I was left with at a recent OEN HR Workshop I attended.  At this workshop,  there were 3 panelists (a “baby boomer”, a “Gen X” professional and a “Gen Y” professional) taking turns answering questions interesting aspects of the 4 generations working in today’s workplace.    Amongst the topics that were discussed was (generally) the different ways people in each generation communicate with each other.  Traditionalists (pre-Baby Boomers) like face to face, Baby Boomers like email and phone, Gen X & Gen Y people like using social media (i.e. instant messaging, twitter, etc).  Again, these are generalizations, but the  thought I blended with the “leadership” thought was the fact that each of these generations want to interact with leaders, but each generation desires to interact differently with the leader!!

I believe that leaders must learn to use these different methodologies to communicate to their followers.  I believe thatcommunication is perhaps the most important quality leaders need and those that have this quality can be on the way to be good leaders.

Would enjoy others who have an opinion on this!

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One response to “Does the act of leadership need to change?

  1. Great, thoughtful post Scott, thanks!

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