Organizations are like automobiles. They don’t run themselves, except downhill. They need people to make them work. And not just any people, but the right people. The effectiveness of an organization’s employees—particularly individuals in leadership positions – determines how the organizational “machine” will perform. What distinguish great organizations from mediocre ones are the attitudes of its people!
Some people are so effective at their job that a leader can do very little to make them better; others are so hopeless that almost nothing can be done to improve their effectiveness. The majority of the population, however, falls somewhere in between those two extremes. These people do their job adequately and go with the flow, looking to their leader to set the course, speed, and duration of that flow. They want some guidance, some suggestions about where to go and how to get there.
Many leaders, however, can’t move their people because they are stuck, prisoners of their inner demons. After all, most leaders are not paragons of rationality. The leader’s shadow side—his or her internal fears, disillusionment, or past demons—prevents movement and change. Such behavior can be compared to riding a dead horse. Experience has taught that many leaders have a false hope that the dead horse they’re on will get up and gallop. But if you feel that you are riding a dead horse, the best thing to do is dismount! The challenge for leaders is to find the courage and energy to break through their self-imposed limitations. Mental health is having a choice.
Anyone wanting to create or manage an effective organization needs to understand the dynamics of leadership, teams, and organizational culture. This is not to minimize such factors as economies of scale or scope, the company’s market position, and its technological capabilities.