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Sunday, July 19, 2009

When do we know our leadership is working?

I assume that all leaders want to be really excellent leaders. That's a great goal, isn't it? Hopefully we all work hard to be really excellent.

So then, how do we know when we are excellent? What's the test of successful leadership?

It's that our people flourish.

If our people grow and develop and flourish under our leadership, we are excellent leaders.


  1. Abraham Lincoln is commonly thought of as a strong leader for many reasons, FDR as well. Both men were master manipulators. Do you believe there is such a thing as positive manipulation? Have you engaged in positive manipulation? Examples? (Don't need to hear about any negative manipulation.)

  2. Absolutely. Manipulation can also be called "influence". We're constantly trying to influence others into certain behavior and most people are fine with that. "Manipulation" as a word has a negative connotation, but "influence" often less so. I influence my children to do chores (or would have if I were a better parent) by rewarding them when the chores are successfully completed. I encourage positive behavior from my team or students by affirming their positive action and asking for more. When we show we value others, they want to repeat it.

    I haven't looked up the specific definition, but perhaps you could look at "manipulation" as insincere influence.

    I bet if we labeled Lincold and FDR as master influencers, people wouldn't necessarily see that as negative.

    I think manipulation (or influence) is very positive when it helps people move forward in a positive direction.

  3. Seems to me that manipulate and influence are two very different verbs. I think leaders do both on a regular basis. I don't necessarily see manipulation on the part of a leader as negative, if (s)he is deft about it. However I do see manipulation as different from influencing.

  4. Ok, I did leave out an important word: active. Active influencing is the same to me. Regarding manipulation as a leader, I agree (and I see it as the same as active influencing). I thought later, too, that positive manipulation may sometimes or even often only be positive from the manipulater's point of view. The person being manipulated might not if it ever becomes known; so is it? Would the manipulated party have to think of the manipulation as positive for it to be so or is it important only for the one in power to believe that?

  5. The person or persons being manipulated should not realize they are being manipulated if it's done right. They should probably feel really successful.


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