Sunday, 9 November 2008

Command and Control

It's funny how tiny things trigger powerful memories. I was reminded today of an event when I was at school and an exchange I had with a science teacher who I shall refer to only as Mr G. Silly as it sounds now, the exchange was all about the pronunciation of the word vitamins. He was adamant that it should be pronounced the amercian way and I was determined to pronounce it the british way - it was a classic 'you say tomato, I say tomato exchange'. His defence was that the word vitamin was derived from vital amins. In refusing to yield, I managed to pick up a detention in order to learn my lesson.

The lesson I learned that day was not how to pronounce the word vitamins - does it really matter - but rather, that command and control doesn't work. Telling people what to do or say doesn't actually gain their buy-in, commitment or indeed, motivate them.

Leadership is about creating an environment in which people can and do deliver great results, consistently.

You can't lead unless people are prepared to follow.

Respect power is more influential and motivating than position power.

Simon Cooper is chief executive of the Experiential Learning Centre, author of the exciting new book, Brilliant Leader and architect of the Brilliant Leadership workshops.

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