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Construction and Authentic Leadership

Construction and Authentic Leadership

May 2021

Last month I engaged in a wonderful discussion. A large infrastructure construction manager had been reading an article about a construction industry CEO of a global company. In the article the CEO was extolling the virtues of command-and-control leadership style.  This article, plus an article by Stephen Gill stirred up a great discussion about people-centred leadership versus command-and-control leadership.

I don’t see the styles as one verses the other, but rather as a leadership continuum. I feel we can only measure the success of the leader, by the outcomes, bearing in mind each role will have different success criteria.

Stephen Gill noted that “switching to a people-centred approach…is not easy to do for most leaders; it takes someone who is very confident and comfortable in his or her role to pull it off.” I would also add that they must also have a very high self-esteem.

Conversely, as humans many desire recognition and significance. Command-and-control leadership styles and systems satisfy this human desire for many leaders.

Another factor in this discussion is that our Western democratic society generally promotes people-centred leaders and despises command-and-control leaders. Therefore, many leaders believe in their minds that they are people-centred leaders (or organisations), yet the reality is that they are actually command-and-control leaders.

I believe it is this lack of alignment (self awareness versus reality) that disempowers employees (followers). Creativity and empowerment can occur regardless of leadership style (wherever placed on the continuum), provided that the leader owns their adopted (or natural) leadership style and applies it consistently.

Another interesting aspect of this discussion is the consideration of cultural approaches. While Western democratic society promotes people-centred approach, places like Russia / China / Korea / Zimbabwe appear to be more deferential and lean towards the command-and-control approach.

Creativity and empowerment can occur regardless of leadership style (wherever placed on the continuum), provided that the leader owns their adopted (or natural) leadership style and applies it consistently and authentically.

“He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.” John C Maxwell.

At Joseph Consulting we are passionate about empowering leaders finding the best place on the leadership continuum for their current role. Please call Joseph Consulting to book a time to discuss how we can help.

Jason Gallagher
Director, Joseph Consulting

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