Is leadership earned or is it granted?

Chris Eckrich

This month’s Family Business Advisor article entitled, “Must the Prince Kill the King?” by Albert Jan Thomassen strikes at the heart of the question, “Is leadership earned or is it granted?”

Those who believe it is granted do their very best to accomplish assigned roles and responsibilities to please the senior leader, hoping that more authority will be granted.

Those who believe it is earned do their very best to do the right thing for the company, sometimes believing that ousting the senior leader is necessary regardless of the fall out.

Thomassen’s article offers a glimpse of what true leadership can look like in a family business, where the love of the  senior leader by the junior leader is shown by doing what is best for the company (earned leadership), while seeking to please the senior generation leader by involving him or her in the big decisions (thus being granted trust and authority).  In this way, the business is able to capitalize on the wisdom of both leaders, and the family is stabilized by the mutual respect felt between the two leaders.

The key leadership question family business owners must ask is, “What is best for our business and our family?”  Then, plans can be made to drive towards that answer.

 Read the September issue of The Family Business Advisor.  Click Here.


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