you call a meeting
no one shows up, probably
you’re not a leader
As quoted in the article, Back-to-Office Battles Underscore a Change in Workplace Authority by Stefan Stern (New York Times – May 11, 2023).
The article has the blurb: As workers push back on mandates, business leaders are wrestling with a new, post-pandemic identity.
As you might guess, the article deals with the all important topic of how to deal with an out of the office work force when you have an in-the-office leader mentality.
Most folks feel that work-from-home started with the recent pandemic in 2020.
I started managing a corporate website in 1995.
I started working from home in 1995.
Sure, I was in the office Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, but I was aware of the website 24×7, 365.
The recent article however focuses on adjustments for management for today with the number of workers who still work but work from home full time or at least 2 or 3 days of the work week.
Much like the tree falling noiselessly in an empty forest, do workers working away from an empty office really work?
And if workers are working or aren’t working, how do leaders lead?
The article goes on to quote a Terri Kelly who had discussion with a Mr. Gary Hamel who is billed as a “management guru”.
Ms. Kelly was quoting an associate.
Being transparent here, I didn’t realize this got so complicated.
I mean here is my passage in question:
Ultimately, leadership authority is granted by willing followers. Terri Kelly, who led the textiles and high-tech firm WL Gore for 13 years, until 2018, put it best in a discussion with the management guru Gary Hamel in 2010: “One of my associates said, ‘If you call a meeting, and no one shows up, you’re probably not a leader, because no one is willing to follow you.’
Anyway, this associate of Ms. Kelly was quoted by Ms. Kelly in a discussion with Mr. Hamel as saying, “If you call a meeting, and no one shows up, you’re probably not a leader, because no one is willing to follow you.”
While this is all in reference to today’s post pandemic workplace, the quote is referenced back … to 2010.
Ultimately, leadership authority is granted by willing followers.
That seems to go back a lot further than 2010.