Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?”


I am not asking the question. Ron Ashkenas does in an HBR blog post. It is an important question to ponder.

Ashkenas basically says that today’s leaders are bombarded with obstacles that need instant attention and they try to appease people. These are pretty big problems and really ones that leaders need to avoid. I have some leadicinal advice for those with these difficulties.

Malcolm Gladwell in “Blink” showed us how many people make snap judgments of people. In fact, the mind makes decisions on things before we willed the thought. When does this happen? Gladwell gives a few examples including assuming a person will be a good leader becomes he is tall. Today, the leaders have to make quick judgments without thinking things through. Like judging someone because of their last name, skin color, sex, or sexual orientation, leaders need to take a little time. Ashkenas mentions that many are going from meeting to another all day long. A course on effective meetings may need to be offered. Most meetings I go to could be done by a few emails or video conferencing.

Secondly, Ashkenas notes that leaders are trying to appease everyone. Much leadership thought today shows that people become leaders because they have a solid compass to guide them. They forsake Machiavellian duplicity and empty themselves of self-interest. Rather, they are lifted up because others "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" The duplicitous are hard to trust. Who are these people? A good example may be a politician that flip-flops when the polls tell him too. Perhaps knowing yourself, what you stand for, and being consistent with those values will answer Ashkenas question.

Although Ashkenas only mentioned two caveats in his article, I think there are more he could have brought to attention. Do you have any ideas for “Where have all the leaders gone?”