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Unsolicited advice for any board of directors

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The type of leader an organization seeks is contingent on a wide variety of internal and external factors many of which may be unforeseeable at the moment. Perhaps a better question is what type of leadership is required of the members of the business as they pursue, together, the strategic vision of the organization. The answer to the question just offered might inform a board of directors or other decision maker as to how and who might be best prepared to facilitate the outgrowth of these leadership requirements.

I offer that the primary task of the leader is not necessarily to be great themselves but to ensure others have the opportunity to be great. Great might manifest in a myriad of ways; creativity, performance, management acumen, leadership, and so forth. Therefore, I agree in principle with Khurana (2002) that the charismatic leader might not be the best selection for such a purpose as “they tend to be more verbal, controlling, and abrasive” (pg. 72). The next leader for our organization must avoid this extroversion trap and be comfortable operating as a thinker first and a speaker second, as a collaborator not as a controller, as a decision seeker not a decision maker, and as a calming presence not as a flamboyant camera seeker. Having noted these issues, I am not necessarily advocating for any one type of leadership approach although placing oneself second to others might fall into the servant leader category. Instead, I advocate for the creation of a culture that embeds leadership into others and thus ensures that it can permeate the entire organization. Again, the more important need of the business if for leadership to occur when and where needed and one single individual, regardless of how skilled, cannot meet this requirement alone. Leadership is not a solitary endeavor.

Khurana, R. (2002). Searching for a corporate savior: The irrational quest for charismatic CEOs. Princeton University Press.

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