Leadership is an Art
Leadership is an art. It's about leading others
with compassion and humanity rather than simply using intimidation and scare
tactics to get things done.
Artful Leadership skills can help executives and
managers build a better, more successful organization.
Artful Leadership as a kind of stewardship that
focuses on building relationships, initiating ideas, and creating a lasting
value system within an organization.
From his experience and observation, he knows that
in order to have power you need to give power. His main purpose in his book is
to show ways this can be achieved, which differs from most leadership books I
have read, that only focus on achieving corporate excellence. He gives a strong
emphasis to the importance of building relationships, initiating ideas,
communication, and creating a lasting value system within an organization. He
also thinks one of the most important aspect of leadership is to recognize the
potential of the followers (in this case he is referring to the people who work
in the company). In order to do this, he states that it is everyone's right to
be part of the decision-making process and all information should be shared;
this is why trust plays an important part of being a leader.
De Pree tries to stimulate the readers thinking to be "out of the box" and
create a very positive corporate culture, making employees enthusiastic and
happy to work there, thus creating extremely positive outcomes from the company.
Leadership is an Art explores how executives and managers can learn leadership
skills that will build a better, more successful organization.
CHAPTER 5: GOOD LEADERS RELY ON COMMUNICATION AND ELEGANCE
One of the most vital aspects of any organization is healthy communication. Just
as any relationship requires honest and open communication to stay healthy, so
the relationships within corporations improve when information is shared
accurately and freely. So what is good communication? Good communication is the
way people bridge the gaps formed by a growing company, it is the way they stay
in touch, build trust, ask for help, monitor performance, and share their
The best way to communicate is through action. You see, a corporation’s values
are its life’s blood, so when you actively practice those values, you are
communicating the company’s values in a way that people can clearly see and
understand. As a result, others will follow andcontinue to communicate those
values through their everyday actions. Not only must a leader communicate
effectively, but he or she must also possess elegance. And no, elegance isn’t
simply dressing in expensive designer suits and acting sophisticated. Instead,
the marks of elegance go much deeper.
Once on vacation in England and Scotland, author Max De Pree and his friend were
debating whether they were driving along the English Channel or the Falmouth
Estuary. When they saw two women up ahead, they decided to stop and ask them to
settle the debate. When they asked, “Excuse me, ma’am, is that the English
Channel?” She simply responded, “Well, that’s part of it.” This story simply
illustrates how oftentimes we only look at parts, instead of considering an
entire whole. When we look at employees, we struggle to see all the different
sides of people. An elegant leader, however, reaches for completeness.
For example, contracts, as we have mentioned, are just a small part of
relationships. A complete relationship needs a covenant. Furthermore, an elegant
leader recognizes that decisions must be made carefully and thoughtfully.
Instead of rushing to make impulsive decisions, an elegant leader will analyze
the situation before agreeing to develop a new product or hiring a new vice
president. When Herman Miller was in the process of hiring a new vice president,
De Pree understood the significance of a VP to both the organization and its
employees. For this reason, De Pree created in-depth checklists that the
corporation required from its leader when making such a decision.
These checklists included things like, “is open to contrary opinion,” “is
intimate with the organization and its work,” “can be a tribal storyteller,” and
that the candidate must understand and speak for “the corporate value system,”
and “participative management.” De Pree then sent out the checklists and
received feedback and additions. In the end, the company collaborated with one
another and took their time before hiring a new vice president. Lastly, elegant
leadership is also about treating everyone with respect, regardless of their
place in the hierarchy. Ultimately, leadership isn’t just about leading a
company to success, it’s about leading with kindness, benevolence, and
CHAPTER 6: FINAL SUMMARY
Leadership is an art. It’s about leading others with compassion and humanity
rather than simply using intimidation and scare tactics to get things done. When
employees respect management and vice versa, then amazing things can happen.
Communication comes easy, people listen to what others have to say, and as a
result, employees will feel included and important. So forget the hierarchy and
adopt an inclusive system that values each and every person. Recognize the
unique role that each person plays and lead by example, and soon you’ll see the
company benefit in more ways than one.
The Tao of