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Unleashing the Leaders Around You

To lead well means allowing others to lead.

The need to control may be one of the most destructive traits in leaders. The attempt to dictate the outcome of every decision, to weigh in on every proposal, is like acid rain, which poisons the environment.

The most damage is often done by the leader who manipulates subtly, who outwardly talks about team leadership, but rules like an iron-fisted Kaiser. I think it was Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, who said to beware of the person who talks loudly about participatory leadership; that person is likely a dictator.

In "Orbiting the Giant Hairball," Gordon MacKenzie, longtime creative director at Hallmark, describes what, in that environment, seems to me to be a healthy team leader:

"My last boss at Hallmark, a fellow by the name of Bob Kipp, sat at the wheel of one of the corporate speedboats. I was at the end of a towline on water skis. We spent our time together skimming across the great Lake Hallmark. Kipp was so sure of who he was and why he was where he was and where ...

May/June
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