YORKTOWN, N.Y., Nov. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Never put a person with an observed character defect into a leadership position.
“Character is fairly permanent in an individual; if it is found to be deficient, it cannot be hoped into existence,” says Timothy Lupfer, author of the book Leadership Tough Love: Examining Leaders Through the Lens of Reality (2019, www.indiebooksintl.com). “Do not confuse character with likeability, superficial style or having a great story or narrative.”
Lupfer entered West Point at the age of 17 in 1968, and four years later he graduated first in his class. He served in various combat-ready units in the United States and Germany, fought in combat in Desert Storm, served on the faculty at West Point and also attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
After retiring from the army in 1992, Lupfer entered business. He served as an executive at R.H. Macy and Company, and then became a management consultant, serving such diverse clients as the City of New York, several financial institutions, global not-for-profits and federal agencies. He retired as a managing director from Deloitte Consulting in 2011.
In Lupfer’s view, organizations constantly talk about leadership, but often confuse leadership with broader concepts like influence and celebrity. He wants to save organizations from muddled thinking about leadership, by applying a tough love lens of reality. Here are some concepts from his book:
- Influence is not leadership. Leadership is more specific; leaders achieve organizational goals through followers; that requires the leader to employ both influence and authority to affect followers.
- Leadership is personal; even in a large organization, your most important leader is the one closest to you. Therefore, organizations need leaders at all levels, and the very best leader may be at a lower level – and that’s perfectly OK.
- Not everyone is a leader, and not everyone wants to be a leader. Specialists are very important, but they are often not true leaders, and they frequently don’t want to assume leadership roles. Organizations make significant mistakes in confusing expert specialists with leaders.
- Charisma is the dangerous shortcut to leadership, when the personality and emotional appeal of a leader generate immediate assent from followers. It is rare and most often ends in disaster. Don’t go there.
- The three basic elements of leadership: giving direction, showing capabilities, and demonstrating character; this combination inspires followers. Character is the most important, but it depends on a foundation of direction and capabilities to be effective.
- Shouldn’t leaders just simply give orders? No, because humans need a degree of autonomy. The inspirational leader (the leader with all three elements) knows this and gains the discretionary effort from his or her followers.
- The discretionary effort from followers must be nurtured, not commanded. An organization with this culture fosters cumulative improvement, the lifeblood of true progress. Cumulative improvement is the ultimate outcome of capable leadership.
What does this mean for organizations and society? Here are some excerpts from Lupfer’s book on how to develop leaders within an organization:
- Identify the members of your enterprise who express a desire to take on leadership roles; they are your first cohorts to be developed. Find the right balance of ego: the people who have a desire to be part of a greater effort and the confidence to lead, but not the need to be always at the center of the effort.
- Avoid the worst mistake of leadership assessment: confusing the leader’s relationship with his or her immediate boss as the best measure of that leader’s leadership ability. While managing up is certainly an important capability, it should never be the overriding criterion for assessing leadership effectiveness.
- Assignments to change organizational behavior, whether to reset bad habits or to improve performance drastically (without also changing out the group being led), are a significant challenge. Organizations should select leaders for these roles carefully and give them full support.
- The table stakes for advanced promotions should be direction and capabilities: Can this leader direct and manage the resources at this level? Beyond the table stakes, however, the deciding factor should always be character.
Lupfer wants organizations to assess leaders in a tough love light so that they can identify and develop the leaders that are so desperately need. He lives in Yorktown, NY.
About Indie Books International
Indie Books International (www.indiebooksintl.com) was founded in 2014 in Oceanside, California by two best-selling business authors. Since then the company has released more than 125 titles. Similar to indie film companies and indie music labels, the mission of Indie Books International is to serve as an independent publishing alternative for business thought leaders.
SOURCE Indie Books International