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Everything You Know About Leadership Is Wrong

Everything You Know About Leadership Is Wrong
Photograph by Anthony Harvie

As a corporate human resources person (in a past life), I was invited to leadership workshops and training events fairly often. It must also be said that I was eager to go. I figured every new workshop and seminar would give me insights into leadership and the magic of team-building that I’d never get on my own. For the most part, I was wrong.

Here’s the problem with leadership training: We dispense tools and techniques without talking about what’s really at issue. People working together have personalities that merge or collide like waves in the ocean. The collisions can cause tension. If that tension isn’t addressed, it’ll surface in workplace conflict, jurisdictional battles, political intrigue, hurt feelings, and lost productivity. Yet leadership trainers often shy away from tackling those problems head on and respond with: “Here are some tips to try.” It doesn’t take a PhD in organizational psychology to talk forthrightly about fear and trust at work. We can have those conversations; we only have to stop being boxed-up weenies long enough to remember that we are human beings first and corporate people second.