Two New Leadership Books Available on Amazon. Dark Side and Authentic Side.
Interview with Dr. Tom DePaoli Author of Two New Leadership Books
Dr. Tom the titles of your new leadership books intrigue me, how did you pick them?
I wanted two leadership books. One would explore the dark side of leadership and the other the authentic or good side. Unfortunately, I had more stories about the dark side and many were just awful. The authentic side stories are not as numerous. The stories are all authentic and real life based for both books. I myself or my colleagues actually experienced them. They are only slightly changed to protect the identity of some of the leaders. The dark side was maybe a little too dramatic. It does have some redundant and repetitious stories. This is not my fault or an editing fault. Dark leaders are not very creative. Many use the same tired and sorry tactics. However, the situations were even more dramatic and uncomfortable for the followers. Boogeyman Leadership: How to Turn Your Employees into Listless Zombies describes all too common leadership tactics that numb employees into becoming animated drones. I urge the reader to not read it from start to end but to jump around in the book. The other book Leadership by Storytelling: The Best Way to Learn Good Leadership Principles is peppered with uplifting and inspirational leadership action. Good leaders, who care, will learn much from the authentic stories.
Both are available on Amazon.
Why did you author the two books at once?
I have been on the receiving end of much poor leadership in my careers. I worked in various organizations such as business, non-profit, the military and academia. Unfortunately, I experienced many more poor leaders than good. Much of the leadership training I experienced was ineffective. I learned leadership principles by observing good leaders. There was no shortage of leadership stories that I experienced. I decided on the storytelling method to give the reader true examples of leadership tactics. Knowing a leadership theory and executing it are two entirely different missions.
Why the storytelling approach?
It is the best way of learning and has many good attributes. Readers can relate to stories much better than prose on leadership theories. From my perspective, stories are also easier for me to write about because I and my colleagues lived and experienced them.
Talk to me about Bogeyman Leadership: How to Turn Your Employees into Listless Zombies.
The book showcases poor leaders and their tactics that inevitably failed. I strongly believe you should know what does not work first, so that an aspiring good leader does not waste time on such approaches. I really do not pretend to offer any silver bullet solutions to these poor policies. I define boogeyman leadership as the use of poor and intimidating leadership tactics whose purpose is to terrify employees and instill distrust, apathy and fear. The result is a zombie-like listless state. The book recounts many bad leadership ideas and illustrative stories to make sure the reader crosses these schemes off their leadership list. It is not a solemn academic book or a guide to great leadership success. Its purpose is to give examples of terrible leadership and management tactics, that I and others have experienced in their careers. I suggest the reader re-visualize their own bad personal leaders, that they have had, who have used the very same or similar defective devices. Unfortunately, these failed leadership ploys are becoming even more common, destructive and hurtful. I urge the reader to avoid these methods at all costs.
Talk to me about Leadership by Storytelling: The Best Way to Learn Good Leadership Principles.
The book provides some excellent principles of good leadership. The principles are illustrated with compelling leadership stories that reinforce the principles. I provide twenty-six principles of good leadership. It should be noted that one of the oldest methods of passing down knowledge is oral storytelling. Usually an ancient sage would be the keeper of the stories and passed them down to other tribe members. I highly recommend the storytelling method for leaders. The stories in the book are authentic. Each principle has a story to clarify the principle. The book has cogent illustrations for the stories. I urge the reader to gather leadership stories to share with fellow leaders and followers. I believe the growth in leadership abilities will be much stronger via the use of leadership storytelling.
Why are there more poor or dark leaders?
Much of leadership training is poorly organized and not very practical. Knowing all the theories of leadership is commendable but not useful in real life. Leadership training must be real life based, use role playing and scenarios to prepare a leader for leadership decisions. One of the biggest areas overlooked is integrity and honesty. Many would be leaders ignore it or downplay it. People will not respect or follow a leader with no integrity. Most dark leaders rationalize their dishonest behavior. Trust me, their followers will always remember even the slightest dishonest action.
It is hard to teach an authentic caring for your followers. Many bad leaders put themselves on a pedestal and do not even make an effort to really know and respect their followers. My experiences in the military in leadership roles taught me to always take care of your followers first and never lie to them. I asked my father, who had spent eight years in the Navy for advice when I was about to become an officer. He said, “Take care of your people. Take care of your people. Take care of your people.” Your people can quickly tell if you are a phony.
What distinguishes good or authentic leaders
They get followers to trust them and keep building that trust. There is no one methodology to get a follower to trust you. Each person has a different lock to get them to trust you, and you have to find the right key. Honesty and integrity help the most. Selflessness also cements their trust. Many followers can forgive a leader who is not totally competent, but they rarely forgive a lack of integrity. I wrote another book Broken Windows Management (available on Amazon). The whole one message or premise of the book was this: Prevention of disorder and actually fixing things that employees say are wrong; goes a very long way in establishing trust and credibility with management (also leader). Management (leaders) must be vigilant and constantly try to control disorder and fix the things and issues that employees’ value. These actions reduce employee fear of management and actually help gain trust. Trust is enhanced by quickly fixing things that employees want fixed. Unfortunately, many organizations have not figured out this simple axiom yet. Many companies, because their employees do not trust them, will never get enough credibility to execute broken windows management actions.
What is Your Favorite Boogeyman Leadership Story?
Remember the book is organized in a manner that gives you a Boogeyman Leadership tactic or tip first that should be avoided if you want to be a good leader. Then the story shows the futility of the tactic. Here it is:
Make Sure You Destroy Trust
Do not keep your word. When you break your word make the lamest excuse you can think of and insist that you were misunderstood. Berate employees who do not keep their word and tell them it is not acceptable. Constantly praise your honesty and integrity as beyond reproach even though it is the exact opposite. Openly lie to your superiors whenever you can and blame your employees for any shortfalls or the missing of goals. Take credit for all of your employee’s good ideas and claim them as the result of your own brilliancy. Brag about how good you are with employees and customers to everyone and never be completely honest ever, in fact be evasive. Lie and exaggerate often.
The department that I worked in did not receive a raise for three years. In the beginning of the fourth year, our leader promised that management has informed him that the average raise for this year would be five percent. The caveat was that instead of working ten Saturdays we would have to work twenty. Near the end of the year he announced at a meeting that “management” had decided that once again there would not be any raises this year after we worked the twenty Saturdays. I and most of the other people in the company left within the next six months. I then discovered from an upper level manager, who had also left the company, that management decided to use dishonesty, the five percent raise ploy, to help lower turnover and all the department managers knew about this ploy in the beginning of the year.
What is Your Favorite Leadership by Storytelling Story?
The book is organized to first state the good leadership principle. Then the story shows the result of using the good principle. Here it is:
Listen to Your Followers’ Problems and Help Them.
I once had an employee who was initially very upset that I took over as leader of the department. She thought that she deserved to be promoted and become the leader. She had more experience than me. She was very cold to me and resisted any initiatives that I proposed. Shortly thereafter, her mother became very sick and it got to the point that she needed caregivers. I gave her as much time of as I could and was very flexible with her work duties and responsibilities. She finally requested family leave for eight weeks and it was granted. While she was gone, I attempted to do as much of her work as possible and got a very good understanding of her duties, systems and techniques. I stayed late many nights and weekends working at both my job and hers. When she came back from family leave, she expected piles of work awaiting her and very hectic weeks. She was surprised that I had kept up and completed almost all of the work. She came into my office and started to cry and I thought that something had happened to her mother. Instead she was grateful for what I had done and thanked me, informing me that no boss had ever done anything so kind. I then suggested that we make a request to our information technology department to upgrade some of the systems that she used, which I was now familiar with by doing her job. We jointly filled out the request that day and it was installed in three weeks.
Her attitude towards me completely turned around. Whenever there was a tough project, she volunteered for it. She became the most loyal employee to me in the department and a friend. As a leader, if someone has a problem and needs help, especially when it is personal or family related, go out of your way to help them. Listen to your followers’ problems and help them.
Leadership by telling stories is highly effective and much more practical. Understanding leadership theories is certainly important, but relating leadership stories to real world events and role-playing exercises based on the stories creates better leaders.
Dr. Tom DePaoli
Dr. Tom DePaoli, (Dr. Tom) is currently an independent management consultant, the Principal of Apollo Solutions, which does general business consulting in the human resources, supply chain and lean six sigma areas. His organization was self-founded in 1995. He retired as a Captain from the Navy Reserve. In other civilian careers, he was a supply chain and human resources executive with corporate purchasing turnaround experience and lean six sigma deployments. He has worked for over ten major companies and consulted for over fifty organizations throughout his career. Some of his consulting projects include: information systems projects, re-engineering organizations, transformation, e-procurement, e-commerce, change management, global sourcing and negotiating. His industry experience is in the chemical, paper, pharmaceutical, IT, automotive, government, consumer, equipment, services and consulting industries. He has been published extensively in journals, magazines and books. He is the author of eleven books all available on Amazon. He has instructed at six education facilities in numerous roles. He is active in supporting the YMCA, Wounded Warrior, and the prevention of the bullying of children.
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