What's in a name? Boss? LO7041

John Woods (jwoods@execpc.com)
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 06:17:19 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO6987 --

Bill Fulkerson wrote:

>Others give me the impression that I am over doing a small point. I don't
>think so. The word BOSS doesn't belong in and around conversations about
>autonomy, empowerment, accountability, leadership, followership...

I am in the midst of co-authoring a supervisory management textbook for
use in colleges. The very first line in this book is "No bosses need
apply." The entire book is based on understanding that an organization is
a system and what that implies for managing and leading successfully. I
regularly talk about why the idea of a boss doesn't work to get good
results from people. (It's the formula for fomenting mediocrity.)

I also have this other project I am working titled "The Six Values of a
Quality Culture." Value 2 is "No superiors or subordinates allowed."
This does not mean that different people don't have different levels of
responsibility. It does mean that we treat each other equitably and as
members of the team that we all are. It means that we understand that our
individual success depends on our mutual success and our jobs are about
supporting one another to achieve the organization's mission.

Finally, in the current edition of Fast Times magazine, the cover story is
"Everything I knew about Leadership was Wrong." The article profiles the
guy who was formerly head of EDS and now head of Perot Systems. He used
to think leadership was about being a hard ass and having no mercy on the
people that worked for him. Now he knows leadership to be supportive of
people as human beings. What I would suggest is that leadership has
always been about the latter. I think this guy really had no idea at all
about what leadership was about before when he was at EDS. Somehow he
woke up to figure out that being a good leader is about affirming our
shared humanity and taking actions that bring out the best in people in
terms of how they relate to one another, their sense of commitment, and
their motivation to perform that emerges from this commitment.

Good comments, Bill. Thanks for bringing them up.

John Woods


jwoods@execpc.com (John Woods)

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>