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Bosses Who Need Leadership CPR

I was in San Francisco last week, speaking at a leadership seminar.  The participants were middle managers, eager to wrestle through the challenges of leadership and hungry for new ideas on how to better work with their employees.  There was one thing I could not give them – better bosses.

In fact, that is what I hear everywhere I go:

  • “My boss needs to attend this seminar.”
  • “Our upper management doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing.  They are constantly undermining our efforts and we spend most of our time putting out the fires they start.”
  • “My boss wants us to take initiative, but never supports us when we do.”
  • “My boss thinks she’s a leader, but she’s not.”

Do you have a boss mentality or are you perceived as a thoughtful leader.  Most bosses think they are leaders, but they do not act like authentic leaders. The process in becoming a thoughtful leader is to start with a change of mind.  Change your mindset, and you will change your behavior.  Change your behavior, and you can change the minds of your employees. 

What should a boss start thinking about?  Exchanging a control mentality for a trust mindset.  The boss that thinks the only way to get the desired results is to control everything, will soon discover that seldom works.  In that environment trust is depleted and the lack of creative oxygen leaves employees lethargic or looking elsewhere for a place to breathe.  People want to work for leaders who know how to administer “Leadership C.P.R.” = Creativity, Permission, Release.

Jennifer Rich wrote a great article for Bosses Day in the Bradenton Herald on Tuesday, Oct 16, 2007:

Are bosses the beacons of leadership they should be?

Many bosses follow the bad patterns they have seen from their bosses in the past, said Richard Hadden. "They don't think its effective (management) but they don't know what else to do," Hadden said. "They want to exert control but control is less effective than influence."

Allan Cox, who has recently written "Your Inner CEO: Unleash the Executive Within," has found that successful CEOs have three important characteristics - they are authentic, candid and can be trusted.

"What really matters in this day and age is a CEO who is truly collaborative," Cox said. [People] don't want to have orders barked at them. Instead they want to feel as if they are working as part of a team.

It seems these days we are long on managers and short on leaders, people who can truly inspire and create an impression on those they lead.

"People don't need a boss as much as a leader," Hadden said. "The job of a leader is to be clear and let employees be creative. You have been appointed, not anointed."

You can read the whole article at

I contend that people don’t want a boss, they want a leader who will give direction  according to the mission of the organization and invite them into the process of successful accomplishment.  That is possible when the leader is trustworthy and trusts others to have worthy contributions. 

Allan Cox gives us a practical challenge on this matter: 

Today’s model isn’t the leader who makes things happen, but the one who lets them happen. Leaders who inspire us are those who shed their attachments to old habits and outworn “convictions.” Such attachments include shallow slogans, biases, blaming others, complaints of circumstance, chasing fads, denying failure, faith in consensus, fake roles, false goals, over-reliance on strategic planning and the pretense of vision as clairvoyance.

Today’s leader courageously releases his most addictive attachment: the illusion of control. 

I concur.  Leadership multiplies in momentum when we think correctly and act accordingly. The actions of intentional leaders will be measured by their:

  • encouraging other’s Creativity in the process,
  • giving Permission to take responsibility, and
  • Release of control.


Candy Whirley

Love this article on leadership....I hear the same thing at my workshops!!! I will share your blog with my participants... great information that they can use right away.

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