Leadership has always been one of my passions. Leadership is a very complex subject that does not have a clear or well-defined definition. North American researchers estimate that in the academic field alone there are more than 10,000 different definitions of leadership, each one with a focus, with an interesting nuance that makes it different from the rest.
And of these more than 10,000 definitions, one of the most interesting, in my view, is that of Peter Drucker. The consultant and management expert said that “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”.
- In the first part of the definition, management has to do with managing resources, with maximizing income, with managing daily operations, with tasks, objectives, profitability … To achieve this, good technical knowledge is required: accounting, marketing, sales, operations … This knowledge can be acquired at any university, business school …
- The second part of the sentence, refers to the fact that leadership is doing the right things. And Drucker is not about posting an entry correctly, or executing a marketing or sales plan properly, but about doing the right things. In doing what is most appropriate, in doing what is necessary … but always in the right way. It has to do with intangible elements such as the vision of the company, the motivation of the professionals, the purpose of the project in question… And it also has to do with values, with the way of doing things.
I can say that this definition is the central axis of the debate on management and leadership that began at Harvard University in the mid-80s and that today is more current than ever in the professional, academic, political, social fields … I did not want to focus on this post in this exciting debate, but to HIGHLIGHT THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING THE RIGHT THINGS.
Because I believe, dear reader, that most of the problems that we are experiencing as a society have to do with the absence of leadership. They have to do with the fact that many people have not done the right things. From the financial and global crisis of 2008 to the present, I dare say that most of our problems have come because the leaders have not done the right thing. And I don’t mean from a technical point of view, but from a values point of view, from a leadership point of view. Therefore, I AM FULLY CONVINCED THAT THE GREAT CRISIS THAT WE HAVE LIVED AND ARE EXPERIENCING HAS TO DO WITH THE ABSENCE OF LEADERSHIP. Unfortunately, many political, business, and social leaders … have not done the right things. We must vindicate authentic leadership based on values, based on doing the right things (as Drucker said) as the main way out of the economic, social and values crisis that we are experiencing.
I recommend that as a leader you take time to ponder your actions. That, in the face of any problem or challenge, before any decision you have to make, think about which is the correct option. Think about what you should do. And to know what is correct or not, you do not need great studies or great preparation. Just be honest with yourself. Inside you, you surely have the right answer. Most of the times when I have doubted what was correct, I have searched within. And I have thought about my parents and my grandparents. My grandparents could barely study and started working at a very young age. But they had very clear values and convictions. When I hesitate to decide, I ask myself: what would my grandparents tell me? What would be their way of understanding which is the correct decision? It helps me to think about them. Surely you too can find your way of thinking about what is right and what is not. If you want to develop good leadership, you must do what is right.
Because as Drucker himself said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”