The Great Game of Leadership

Eric Berne wrote “Games People Play” – there is nothing more common in business than “The Leadership Game.”

Like all games, some degree of fantasy is involved. The players pick up rules along the way and observe others to acquire winning strategies.

In commercial organisations fantasies include:

  • Change title from manager to leader and there is leadership
  • Because a team has a leader, the team will perform
  • A leader performs well when you either breathe down their neck or leave them alone

Gaming principles suggest that:

  • Employees have the numbers (critical mass) to control throughput and output
  • Employees tell the power figure (person in control?) what they want to hear (or what employees want them to know or think)
  • Reality is superseded by the illusion of hope
  • When reality dawns, the least effective strategy is the one chosen.

How can you beat the odds in the game of business?

The only strategy that works consistently is one that takes internal competition out of the game, that treats barriers to success (and challenges) as just part of the game, and that requires all players to be on the same side.

Practically, there are a number of ways to do this, but before anything else you have to:

  • See reality for what it is
  • Accept there are blind spots – whoever discovers them first, gets the advantage
  • Do whatever it takes to find the best outcome for all in the game

Only then, can you keep ahead of the game.


About Cherri Holland

Fascinated with business, brains and how to use the brains on the payroll to make business buzz.
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