Bill George has a point: he says in his book that leadership is not simply role or style, but that what is primarily important is authenticity.

This has five elements:

  • Understand the goal
  • Living consistent values
  • Leading with heart
  • Establish relationships
  • Show self discipline

Well, that’s pretty general for now, and the rest of the book didn’t move me along that much for this topic. It does, however, have some good insights on a few other business management topics (if you’re interested: seven deadly sins of market appearance) and it gets a little too esoteric for me personally. Bill George packs the proper insight that you can’t acquire this authenticity simply by reading into the methaphor of having to go through purgatory.

Leadership in the 21st century

Then the second book, True North, from 2008, reconciled me to the terms. It concretizes the key points in a table:

Characteristics 20th century leader 21st century leader
Image Charismatic Value-driven
Focus US-centric Global view
Motivation Self-interest The best for the organization
Experience Perfect resume Learning through challenges
Time horizon Short term Long-term
Approach Hierarchical leadership Distributed leadership
Greatest strength IQ EQ (emotional intelligence)
Personal benchmark External evaluation Intrinsic contribution

The true North elements

It still has five elements, but I find the new wording much more catchy:

  • Self-awareness
  • Values
  • Sweet Spot
  • Support Team
  • Integrated life

And then he has the concept of the sweet spot between motivation and skills. That, I think, is a perfect entry point into looking at what leadership should be in an agile environment.

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