It shouldn’t be lonely at the top

Teaching others to step forward a core part of leadership
By Bob Wheatley
|CHRR, Guide to Training & Development|Last Updated: 11/21/2002

How many leaders does it take to change a light bulb? Nobody knows — they don’t do implementation. It sounds like a silly joke, but it could be a serious insight. Organizations had better find out which it is if they hope to keep corporate leaders relevant in a changing world.

Most HR practitioners have some leadership development responsibility in empowered organizations. But in support of empowerment, many have made the mistake of trying to separate leadership from management.

“Leaders lead with vision and charisma while managers manage with measurement and control,” is a common mantra that can be heard on day one of many leadership development programs. And then, just to add to the fun, empowerment training tells managers and staff that they are now to be proactive leaders. This confusing message has served to isolate the true organization leaders from their teams and from the real task of organizational achievement.