As we approach the end of Farson’s book, it really gets meaty as he begins to speak very directly about leadership. He starts this section by saying “One of the great enemies of organizational effectiveness is our stereotypical image of a leader. We imagine a commanding figure perhaps standing in front of an audience, talking, not listening, with an entourage of assistants standing by. The real strength of a leader is the ability to elicit the strength of the group. Leadership is less the property of a person than the property of a group.”
Organization effectiveness depends on trusting and well function teams. True leaders build great teams. The name of my company is Team Leadership Culture. The order is important. Companies with the stereotypical commanding figure leader don’t often sustain their results. Companies with leaders who build great teams have much greater sustained results. Teams first. But, it takes great team-building leadership to create the teams. Farson reinforces this concept by saying “True leaders are defined by the groups they are serving, and they understand the job as being interdependent with the group. They define their task as evoking the knowledge, skills, and creativity of those who are already with the organization.”
There is so much richness in this section that I can’t possibly cover it in this short blog. I started this series about Management of the Absurd because I thought it was a wonderful little book that was worth the attention. I’ll encourage you to go beyond my blogs and pick up a copy for yourself. It’s worth making the effort.
Farson closes this section with some statements that are near and dear to my heart. “The best leaders are servants of their people. Studies show that those people who are most successful in achieving power did not dominate the group; rather they served it. Humility comes naturally to the best leaders. They seldom take credit themselves but instead give credit to the group with which they have worked. They characteristically make life easier for their employees. They are constantly arranging situations, engineering jobs, smoothing out the processes, removing the barriers. They think about who needs what. They define their job as finding ways of releasing the creative potential that exists within each individual employee and in each group with which they work.”
If you’ve read my book on Leadership Trust Me you’ll know that the first attribute is humility. Farson says that humility comes naturally to the best leaders. I’ll say that the best leaders learn how to keep their ego in check and rely on that natural humility that is sometimes buried deep inside. The world tells us to promote our ego, build your brand, take charge. Humility trumps all those approaches if your desire is to be a great leader.
There are no leaders, only leadership.
I’m continuing my series on an in-depth look at a wonderful little book that’s twenty years old this year. The title is Management of the Absurd by Richard Farson. You may want to consider dropping back and reading the previous blogs about ABSURD! I think it will put each new one in great context.