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November 2015

President's Message – Brian D. Kelley

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Lessons in Leadership from the Bully Pulpit

President Dwight D. Eisenhower is recognized as eloquently pointing out, "You don't lead by hitting people over the head – that's assault, not leadership." Today, we have far too many leaders stepping into the bully pulpit with the false belief they can best lead by leveraging fear and intimidation to achieve goals and objectives. I have unfortunately found myself under such ineffective government leaders in my 25 years in public sector IT. I am quite sure you have your own experiences with bully pulpit leadership. Such self-proclaimed dictators eventually stop listening to those they lead and those they lead quickly stop contributing, speaking and totally disengage from the leader. Organizational efficiency, productivity and competencies quickly decline to the point where the organization becomes dysfunctional. Leaders who embrace the bully pulpit never survive long in the organization and move often from organization to organization leaving a path of destructions and victims scattered behind them.

So how can you become a results-oriented leader without becoming a bully? Here are seven ways to tell a bully from a true leader.

1. A leader leads by example. A bully dominates and intimidates others and says, "Do as I say or else."

2.A leader shows interpersonal skills and empathy for others and motivates. A bully lacks empathy for others, ridicules and de-motivates others.

3.A leader can communicate with all levels and backgrounds and understand their motivations. A bully surrounds himself only with people who acquiesce to him.

4. A leader believes in the abilities of his people and knows they will do well. A bully has low expectations of everybody.

5. A leader shares information and is transparent. A bully withholds information and uses it as a weapon.

6. A leader is assertive when necessary. A bully is aggressive and uses power plays.

7. A leader is emotionally mature (high emotional intelligence). A bully is emotionally immature (low emotional intelligence.)

– Posted by Grant Schneider on Friday, November 29, 2013 in Strategic Leadership.

For those of us in leadership positions or aspiring to be leaders we must avoid stepping into the bully pulpit. If you find yourself already in the bully pulpit, consider stepping down out of it and rise up to be an effective and true leader!

Carpe diem! There is much to be accomplished!

Brian D. Kelley
President, CGCIO
GMIS International

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