In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Thursday, 28 April 2016

LEADERSHIP UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

I can't recall a time when leadership has been under so much detailed and intense scrutiny - political leadership, business leadership, religious leadership, media leadership, police leadership, in fact just about any leadership past and present. It might have something to do with the social media microscope with its whiplash-fast means of communication to praise or destroy characters and reputations in a heartbeat. Both serious and necessary analysis of decision-makers and gossipy, sarcastic nit-picking join death and taxes as inevitable parts of life these days.

I know a bit about leadership from my forty years as a manager, starting in the low ranks and steadily moving into the middle and almost senior management orbit. I did some good things and I made mistakes. I made good decisions and bad decisions but hopefully the good outweighed the bad. In management, I've found that you learn as you go. You learn by experience how to deal with certain recurring challenges and you weigh up how to handle surprises and the unexpected. Sometimes you're on a sure footing and other times you choose your route and take responsibility and the consequences.

In my forty years, rather neatly but honestly, I have had forty bosses. I have learned from all of them and not always in a good way.  I have been tinkering with an idea for a book - Career-View Mirror: 40 Bosses In 40 Years - but I haven't spent too much time on it lately.

However, as part of the idea, I listed my bosses, not by name or chronology, in one word summaries of how I saw them. The simple point is that all bosses are different in personality and behaviour but it is competence and delivering the role properly and professionally that counts.

I have worked for a couple of brilliant leaders, some good ones, too many average ones and a handful of idiots.

Here are the words I attribute to my past gaffers:

BOSS 1 - AMBITIOUS
BOSS 2 - BRUISER
BOSS 3 - BULLISH
BOSS 4 - CONSISTENT
BOSS 5 - DRIVER
BOSS 6 - EAGER
BOSS 7 - EGOTISTIC
BOSS 8 - ERRATIC
BOSS 9 - FREEWHEELER
BOSS 10 - FRIENDLY
BOSS 11 - FOCUSED
BOSS 12 – FUSSY
BOSS 13 – GRITTY
BOSS 14 – GROUNDED
BOSS 15 – HAUGHTY
BOSS 16 – HUMANE
BOSS 17 – HUMBLE
BOSS 18 – HYPOCRITE
BOSS 19 – INCONSEQUENTIAL
BOSS 20 - LAZY
BOSS 21 - METHODICAL
BOSS 22 – MILITARY
BOSS 23 – PATIENT
BOSS 24 – PURITAN
BOSS 25 – RANTER
BOSS 26 – REAL
BOSS 27 – REBELLIOUS
BOSS 28 – RUFFIAN
BOSS 29 – SCRUPULOUS
BOSS 30 - SELFISH
BOSS 31 - SINCERE
BOSS 32 – SMUG
BOSS 33 – SNEAKY
BOSS 34 – SNOB
BOSS 35 – SOFT
BOSS 36 – SUPERIOR
BOSS 37 – TENACIOUS
BOSS 38 - UNCERTAIN
BOSS 39 - UPSTART
BOSS 40 – VETERAN

The business writer Peter Drucker nailed it when he said: "Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things."

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