• CFOsg Admin

Leadership: Fantasy vs Reality


Salleh was visibly frustrated. Having recently received his anonymous 360 evaluation from his employees, he was shocked to find that most of their comments expressed that they did not consider him to be a leader. Moreover, some of the comments actually mentioned that he got worse the more leadership courses he attended. Which didn’t make sense to him; after all, wasn’t the point of the leadership courses to increase his abilities as a leader? All those activities, the friends he made, the networking opportunities, takeaways, and case studies, were they all wrong? Or was something wrong with him; that HE was the reason why it wasn’t working out? After all, a whole leadership industry can’t be the one that’s wrong, no?


There is an entire industry built around leadership training, and many companies and employees are clamouring for good leaders. However, in Leadership BS by Jeffrey Pfeffer, he points out that while the sentiments of the industry serve to be inspirational in nature, the reality is that when it comes down back to reality, we are seeing increasingly less effective leaders. Why is this so? Part of it, Pfeffer believes, is that we have not been measuring outcomes of leadership courses, but rather how ‘entertaining’ they have been, which leads to them becoming increasingly interactive and focused on ‘fun’, rather than whether or not they really work. In addition, a huge portion of the leadership literature is focused on what prominent leaders say, rather than what these leaders actually do.


Instead, Pfeffer argues that it is worth looking at what the data shows that ACTUALLY works. To that end, he talks about 8 different topics and why we might want to be aware of the realities of them. These 8 topics are 1) Inspiration and fables, 2) Modesty, 3) Authenticity, 4) Telling the truth, 5) Trust, 6) Leaders “eating” first, and 8) Handling the truth. With the awareness of how these themes actually play out, leaders will then be more equipped to be able to become effective.


When it comes to your financial management, are you sticking to what you’ve heard or feel that works, or are you looking for something that actually does work? If you are ready to skip the BS and really do something about your company’s financial organization, drop us an email at info@cfosg.sg for more information.

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