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Leadership, Stewardship, Rulership, Lemmingship
Dec 22, 2010
The book titled Walk the Walk written by Alan Deutschman defines leadership as the act of changing the way people think, feel and act. A leader does this with two simple tools. One is talking his/her thoughts out to others - i.e., what they say. By 'talking' we really mean what a leader articulates as virtues that are of highest priority to the leader. Other is acting out those virtues even during most trying times - which is referred as walking the walk.
The author says everybody who takes a leadership position or thinks he is leading other people may not necessarily be practicing leadership in it's real sense. People who really focus too much on words and very little on action that matches those words are not real leaders.
A person who is protecting his/her own position and authority through his actions which are typically different from that person's stated (prioritized) virtues is actually practicing rulership. Through a simple power play, ( or even practicing a negative value system of manipulation, coercion or deception) such a person exercises control on other people's thoughts, feelings and action, for selfish interests. An organization under such a leader will potentially germinate a negative culture and value system.
A person who runs an established organization in pretty much the same direction but much more efficiently than his/her predecessors is effectively practicing stewardship. Such a person may know all the right levers to pull at the right times. However people under this person will not find the value system or culture changing in the organization for better.
Someone who thinks that the best practices that worked for another leader will will work for him/her as well and simply copies those blindly is practicing lemmingship. The author says that lemmingship is what we usually end up with when what we actually want is leadership.
A true leader is one who has strong conviction in his/her choice of virtues and will demonstrate that conviction in action even during the toughest times.
The book has numerous case studies on leadership that walked the walk with vivid descriptions of the trying times in which those tough virtues were practiced. Negative outcomes of not walking the walk are also effectively highlighted. This book is written in very simple style and language. I found this book to be a very inspiring and powerful read. Here is a very interesting and different way of thinking about leadership.