Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Leadership as the glue that binds

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on December 17, 2011

I have been writing on an ongoing if periodic basis about leadership in this blog and I continue along that line with this posting. And I start this while thinking back to some of the people I have worked with, and about how they have sought to lead.

An effective leader can be iconoclastic and a rule breaker. That can at times even be necessary, and certainly where a business founder or leader seeks to break out of the rut of the conventional and the automatically assumed to create New. But an effective leader cannot simply be a rugged individualist and certainly when forming and leading a team to build and realize that New with.

A leader, as I have noted several times, needs good communications and interpersonal skills. Leadership is about creating and conveying a vision and leaders are, or at least should be the keepers of the torch for organizational strategy and higher level planning. I have touched on a number of these traits, qualities and responsibilities in earlier postings (see for example, postings with the word leadership in their titles at Business Strategy and Operations and Business Strategy and Operations – 2.) Here, my starting point is a very simple observation:

• You cannot lead if no one is willing to follow, and others will not follow if they cannot see and value where you would lead them to.

This does not necessarily mean that everyone has to see and understand some ultimate destination and in full detail, but it does mean that the path you would lead them along is worthwhile and to them too.

• An effective leader is the glue who holds a group of others together, working towards a commonly shared goal and along a shared path that is intended to bring them to it.

This posting is about leadership but it is also about strategy too. In a fundamental sense the two cannot be separated. Good strategy and its operational description and explanation provide road guides that a business owner or manager can lead with.

This is a short posting but the issues I touch upon here are very important. Good leaders do not and in a fundamental sense cannot set themselves too much apart from the people they would lead. Separation leads to misunderstanding and a dilution of any sense of importance that everyone work together. Distance and isolation can and do contribute to differences in understanding as to overall goals, priorities and strategy, and that at the very least encourages the development of local turf and silo walls and with all that they bring. And managers at all levels start to fill in the blanks with their parts of the overall organization envisioned as if in the center.

Leadership is or at least should be the glue that binds an organization together, and with a single shared vision for moving forward. That makes overall strategy and an overall sense of mission and vision possible, and as more than just a set of words observed more in the breach than in promise.

You can find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations and also at Business Strategy and Operations – 2.

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