Leadership & The Role of Information: Making The Creatively Informed Questioner
The quintessential leader is an informed leader. So it is said. However, this concept of being informed seems to lack definition and purpose. What does it mean to be informed? And what is the role of information in leadership?
People often think that leaders are informed because they are educated or quick learners. To some extent this may be true. A more realistic view would be that they use their education in a manner that positions themselves and those around them to succeed and sustain their success. How do they do this? An explanation follows.
Certainly good leadership is not dependent on academic degrees, certifications, and other types of qualification standards. These educational levels of distinction are helpful because they indicate that some potential ability has been acquired. All organizations want competent, educated, or at least bright people in leadership roles. Holding a leadership position does not mean that one is a good leader. Leadership authority does not come from an assigned, bureaucratic position in a hierarchy. Leadership authority can be enhanced by structure and position. But a true, authoritative leader is more than an assigned role as Prof. Bacharach, carefully explains in his many writings and workshops.
Common to the best leaders, however, is one distinguishing factor - the ability to use information creatively in raising questions. It is this ability to raise relevant, provocative, insightful, and often path-finding questions that separates true leaders from those who may be occupying a leadership position. After all, there are all kinds of directors, managers, executives – people with titles. Few of us would say that their title makes them a leader. Several nouns are often used like judgment, persuasiveness, trust, and more to point to the many qualities necessary in a good leader. Easily forgotten, however, is the quality of being...