When you think about what a leader needs in order to lead well…what do you think of?  Edgar Schein has an interesting take in is contribution to The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices for the New Era.  He suggests that all of the research into what leaders do and must be good at that is based purely on psychology misses "the cultural breadth and depth of what creates leaders in the first place" and overlooks "the reality that what leaders do that is unique is to manage culture."  That is an interesting idea.  Is that what a leader does?  Manage culture?  Think about your organization.  What is it that your leadership does?

Schein breaks his idea of what an effective leader does into three main roles and attitudes.  He believes that effective leaders should:

  • Think like an anthropologist
  • Have the skills of a family therapist
  • Cultivate and trust artistic intincts

Interesting, isn’t it?  If you are a leader do you have these competencies?

I first tripped across Schein a few years back when I picked up a copy of Organizational Culture and Leadership.  Still a classic.  One of the very best books I’ve come across on organizational culture and change. 

Essential Competencies of a Leader