Where are the real Leaders?

For those of you around my vintage may recall a leader called Lee Iacocca who wrote a book called ‘Where have all the leaders gone’?

He introduces the Nine Cs of leadership test, and it feels that many leaders of the modern era perhaps would not do as well as we might like if they took this test, especially during a crisis.

Leadership these days appears to be about appeasing everyone without taking a stand for what is perhaps the right thing to do for the organisation, the stakeholders, or the end user.

Leaders seem so afraid of consequences, to the point that I fear innovation is going to be stifled, and mistakes are not going to be made.

That might sound strange, encouraging mistakes.

But mistakes are what makes leaders great. They lead the way, set new paradigms, adjust when needed, and share the resulting triumphs or failures.

They get up, re-group, and go again.

Leaders currently are kowtowing to the lowest common denominator, or to those that shout the loudest. This is not leadership. This is holding on to your position in your organisation (or government for that matter) and earning a buck.

You are not making a difference.

You are not enhancing the culture.

You are not creating the next generation of inspirational leaders.

You are not making the world a better place.

In fact, you are part of the problem.

I am sad to see leaders ignore issues, sticking their head in the sand will not make it go away. It will, however, ensure that they lose their high achievers at some point in the future. Great employees will not work for someone that is hesitant to make a tough call, or decision, much worse, ignore it completely.

I am reminded of a great mentor and amazing leader in my early days, Don Beisley (ex GM Bunnings West Coast) who said “I don’t care what you do but make a bloody decision. You can be wrong. You can be right. But make a bloody decision. Your team will thank you for it in the end”.

He was an incredibly supportive leader that was only annoyed when you sat idle, didn’t stand your ground when you believed in your position, agreed for the sake of agreeing, caved to the loudest voice in the room, and most of all, you were not standing up for your team!

And it still resonates today. People, especially during times of crisis look to their leader for guidance, direction, and action.

He was a wise man and to this day I owe him.

You can still be consultative, I am not for a minute suggesting being a dictator, but perhaps more like today’s new type of leader like Volodymyr Zelenskyy, strong, decisive, and standing up to what is right, not necessarily what is popular right now.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

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