Leadership Of The Future

“Michael, if you can’t pass, you can’t play.” – Coach Dean Smith to Michael Jordan in his freshman year at UNC

OK, just between us, are you passing the ball in your leadership style, or do you try to make all the shots yourself?

So many people misunderstand the nature of leadership, but they don’t have a Coach Smith to point them in the right direction.  The most common “model” is the decider-in-chief who feels like they can make any decision by virtue of being in charge.  They’d never consider that the people they hired for their speciality could be valuable in areas of their speciality.  They don’t think of tapping into the experience of the people around them.

People stare at me like I’m crazy, but I’ll repeat again that leadership is easy.  Or at least it could be.  The real job of a leader is to provide vision, chart the future, and then provide the tools for his or her team to achieve the goals.  Then one of the counter-intuitive principles of leadership kicks into gear:  The less credit you take, the more you get.

Just so you know, I didn’t always know this.  I’ve had plenty of stupid management moments when I thought I was making a leadership decision too.  Probably more than most.  You can classify some of them as absolutely stupid.  Fortunately God blessed me with the ability to learn from my mistakes.

The more you pass the ball, and give your own team the ability to make their own decisions, the better you’ll do.  The more you give everyone the credit for success, the more they appreciate you and the more credit you get.  The more you’re willing to let people make their own decisions from time-to-time, the more they’ll learn.

While not one of the four principles I think hold success for the future of radio, good leadership will help us any time in any circumstances.  It’s a decision, not a miracle.  I wonder what would have happened if Michael Jordan hadn’t learned to pass the ball.

You can talk back about this, and see Guy Kawasaki talk about making presentations now at Mason Morning Minute.