#126 – Overt vs. Covert Leadership

After a recent conversation with a client about the fine points of leadership, I received this very interesting follow-up message:

“I like the concept of covert and overt leadership. I must confess that in my prior positions, I relied heavily on covert leadership. I would define this as seeing direction I believe our organization should be heading or an improvement to a system we should make and finding a way to make it someone else’s idea and then validating this idea. I still practice this and people use these techniques with me as well. Essentially, it’s planting a seed and seeing if it will grow. In upper management positions, I think it is necessary to practice more overt leadership. I believe people in an organization like to know their management can lead. It’s not nearly as much fun as planting seeds and watching them grow, but it’s necessary.”

Food for Thought ~

I have always liked the metaphor that portrays leadership as planting seeds. It’s a classic method of leadership – spreading ideas around and either purposefully nurturing them along, or alternatively, “letting nature take its course” and seeing how the idea evolves… or doesn’t.

Question for the day ~

Do you practice this method of leadership? For those of you who are gardeners, what analogies would you draw between gardening and leadership?

Thanks to all who wrote and called about “reluctant leaders.” That subject seemed to spark significant interest, insight and action.