Compliments of JAS_photo via Flickr

“If executives are unable to lead and manage themselves, they’ll never be able to manage and lead others” [Long, 2009, p. 19].

The focus of this blog and its contents are two pronged: one facet is (1) office organizing and transformative decluttering; and the second is (2) office decorum, emphasizing such aspects as civil discourse, respectful interaction, and appropriate workplace behavior. The article “Executive Presence: What it is and How to Get it” appropriately describes one of the most essential aspects of a successful leader – that of self-management. Long (2009) argues that managers who are lacking in this area often suffer the backlash of their inappropriate actions (in a way that they failed to predict), and in a manner that may ultimately undermine their position. Ineptitude is evidenced in the use of coercive power, or power to punish. You may have been the victim of this power play if you were:

  • Addressed in a disrespectful, didactic fashion with little opportunity to express your own viewpoint
  • The recipient of a reprimand via e-mail
  • Unfairly accused at work
  • Upbraided in front of other people, or within earshot of office staff
  • Forced into a confrontation for no apparent reason

Management is ultimately an activity that’s accomplished with other people. For servant leaders, it’s an action that’s administered for other people. Despite evidence that relational work practices yield impressive results, most companies manage in ways that are contrary to inducing optimum performance (Pfeffer, 1998). We as a society continue to reward “tough” managers, those who only pay lip service to the values of empowerment and self governance (Pfeffer, 1998). Hornstein (1996) in Brutal Bosses and their Prey underscores this point: “With unusual consistency, decades of research show that respect, not regulation, and empathic concern, not cold calculation, are the boss’s most practical tools.” Command and control leadership generates disconnection, and disconnection empowers managers who are fueled by command and control (Lewin & Regine, 2000).

Instead, be the type of boss that others want to emulate. Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines was perhaps the master in the area of relational ability: employees were loyal to the point where when questioned, they expressed a willingness to work for him for no money.

Mr. Kelleher made it a point to care about the personal aspects of his employees, and to express an interest in something other than office procedures.


Hornstein, H. (1996). Brutal bosses and their prey: How to identify and overcome abuse in the workplace. New York, NY: Riverbend Books.

Lewin, R., & Regine, B. (2000). The soul at work: Embracing complexity science for business success. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Long, J. (2009). Career development: Executive presence: What it is and how to get it. Successful Meetings, 58, 16-19.

Pfeffer, J. (1998). The human equation: Building profits by putting people first. Boston, MA: Fellows of Harvard College.

Share |

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

Comments are moderated.

Comments are closed.