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Leadership – where and when?

A simple Google search for Leadership will return at least 865,000 results in 0.31 seconds. So, it's clear that Google knows what leadership is about. We do too, or at least we think we do. People from all corners of the world keep talking about leadership. There are courses, seminars and expensive programs...all aimed at developing people into leaders. There is nothing wrong with that!

Between the leadership programs we know or have heard about, the reality is, in organizations (and not only there!), that there are, in some places, deep ditches. Consulting companies have armed themselves with professional equipment to fill the gutters of knowledge on how to be a leader, to inspire people to work not for you, but with you, and with passion, not out of fear. There are great leadership programs on the market and we could talk about them for tens, even hundreds of hours.

In reality, however, in some places, we are so far from leadership that the very idea of trying to understand it is a waste of time. There are so many examples that, if I.L.Caragiale lived, his writings would fill the shelves of bookstores and the theaters. Caragiale would probably would have called them by a different name – Lidărșân or Leadersheep.

These are, for example, some of the situations in which a Recruiter is told to inflate the recruitment status reports in order to impress the client:

Manager: “Put more candidates there, more interviews, to show that we've made progress.”

Recruiter: “Well, we haven't had any interviews in the last 24 hours.“

Manager: “So what? We will interview people this week. We gotta show some progress to the client.“

And that’s not the end of it all. There are situations where if you say that something isn’t right the way it is, you get a reply along the lines of "This is how we work here; whoever does not adapt, is free to leave". We have to do well, aim to please the boss abroad, to work many extra hours, often inefficiently, because it plays well, to send emails at late hours to show that you care, are involved, and that you are there on the front lines. I'm not saying don't work overtime when it makes sense, when it's needed. However, don't put ruthless hours around your neck to look busy, to see the world pulling, to sacrifice your personal life for the greater organizational good.

There are also situations when you go on a business trip, whether it suits you or not. So what if you have other plans for the next 3 months? Forget about your plans, duty calls. When you receive messages on WhatsApp at 7 in the evening or that you have to change something immediately to a post on the company's Facebook page because it’s not good enough. When you are called by the boss on Saturday morning because you must immediately prepare material that cannot wait until Monday. However, when you mention that you have other plans and insist that you can't postpone them, suddenly it’s okay to send the material on Monday. As a matter of fact, if your boss works on Saturdays, why can't you?

When you give feedback, you say what is wrong and come up with suggestions for improvement. A few months later, you are fired for a lack of flexibility. Mismatch with organizational culture.

So, what’s the point to talk about leadership, motivation, feedback mechanisms, Daniel Pink and Ken Blanchard? You better not! Just follow the principle LOVE IT, CHANGE IT, LEAVE IT. In other words, if your job is good, mind your own business! If it’s not, see what you can change. If you can't change it or can’t change your attitude towards it, go your own way! Simple, how else?