Leadership is contextual

I’ve blogged on this subject before, but I heard and read some really interesting thoughts on the subject in Leadership Rising, Wycliffe’s one-week, strengths-based leadership development program.

First of all, our president referred back to the last four presidents of Wycliffe USA. He pointed out that the board brought in each one of them for a specific purpose to transform our organization. Each one had his own strengths and weaknesses but was ideal for the role he was asked to fill. That reinforces to me the idea that there is no single pattern for a successful CEO. I suspect that in the room I’m sitting in, every single one of the Myers-Briggs types is represented. And yet, we’re all leaders in our own contexts.

Second, a friend of mine sent me a challenging new leadership book, The 52nd Floor: Thinking Deeply About Leadership. The following quote stood out to me, quoting from “a famous Gulf War general”:

The act of leading is a process that undergoes constant change. When you find what works, such as your “six keys to success,” you’ll eventually fail. All the elements in a leadership situation are constantly changing. You as a leader are growing and changing. Your workforce is developing. Some employees leave the organization, others enter it. The situation changes all the time. The easiest way for a leader to fail is for him or her to apply what worked yesterday to today.

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