You have seen the books--the ones with titles like The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell, and even The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus (honestly). In fact, an Amazon search for “leadership secrets” yields over 62,000 results. Clearly, there are a lot of secrets out there. Yet, for all the precious secrets in print, from Christ to Hitler, and in between, many people aren’t getting them. Why not?
Why do we see so many leadership failures? Why aren’t The Secrets taking hold and creating a new breed of enlightened and successful leaders? It certainly isn’t because the books aren’t selling. Why, then, do we have this leadership crisis in the face of so many leadership secrets? I offer four reasons for the exercise of poor leadership:
Silver Bullets -These would-be leaders are scouring the chapters for a magic trick, a shortcut to bring them success. But, only the Lone Ranger had the Silver Bullet - and he was fictitious. Leadership is a complex skill that evolves over time.
For many people the answer to the last question is, “No.” So, there is a more fundamental question. Why don’t people embrace the secrets? The answer is in the titles. You read The Leadership Secrets of Leader X and, thus, were a casual observer or a mildly interested participant in the exercises. While the reading may have been interesting, inspiring and inviting, it wasn’t infectious, it didn’t become part of you. The secrets remained those of somebody else. You must be “infected” so that these secrets take over your body. You need to make them your own.
So, I have a proposal for you. Sit down and write your own leadership book. It may never get published, but you already know the title: The Leadership Secrets of [insert your name here]. It will be the best book you ever read.
Wally Adamchik is President of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting. Visit the website at www.beaFireStarter.com. He can be reached at 919-673-9499 or wally@beaFireStarter.com.
"What can I say…. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You were definitely a big hit, as I knew you would be. I will highly recommend you for other speaking engagements and for other chapter events."
Tamika C. Carter, PHR
Associate Director, Construction HR
The Associated General Contractors of America