I'm working with a new client which is privately owned. There are nine business partners, three who are actively involved with the day to day business. Last week, I had the opportunity to interview eight members of the staff, four senior executives and four lower level employees. I was interested in learning more about the corporate culture in order to customize a recognition training program for the management team. This client provides a limited amount of management development training during the year.
One of the Senior Executives, who was very impressive with his knowledge of the business and quality issues, shared a thought with me that is worth passing on. I asked him about the direction of the company, the communication between Senior Executives, and the corporate culture. His response was "ownership is not leadership." When he shared this thought, I immediately thought of Steve Jobs. Like many others, I’m reading the bestselling book about the life of Steve Jobs so Steve popped into my head. Steve Jobs was a brilliant visionary and certainly changed our world but he had an abrasive side and was difficult to work for. My guess is that many fabulous employees left Apple because they did not appreciate Steve’s style. Just because someone has a title, doesn’t mean he/she knows how to inspire and lead others. There are skills, techniques and methods that leaders need to learn in order to be effective. I’m not implying that Steve Jobs or the leaders at my new client company aren’t effective. They are up to a point. Imagine what could happen if they developed their leadership potential!