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Boeing leadership…and the limitations of ‘how to behave’ lists

Michael McKinney, in his Leading Blog on the Leadership Now website, points up Boeing’s expected leadership behaviours/behaviors:

“When Ginger Barnes spoke to employees at a leadership development program at the Boeing Leadership Center, she said, ‘Leadership is all about leaders teaching leaders and about relationships. We can execute the daylights out of anything, so ‘finds a way’ and ‘delivers results’ have always been strong traits. Where we need to improve is in the areas of ‘charts the course,’ ‘sets high expectations’ and ‘inspires others.’” That probably true just about anywhere you go. To strengthen the culture of leadership and accountability within the company, Boeing defined its expectations for leaders as:

A Boeing Leader:

* Charts the course
* Sets high expectations
* Inspires others
* Finds a way
* Lives the Boeing values
* Delivers results”

I also like the comment, however, left by Allen Adams on Michael’s post, that a lot of organizations have similar lists of expected behaviours/behaviors in their leaders, yet typically fail to inspire anyone, leading to Dilbert territory – the cynical, defeatist humor/humour coming from uninspiring people spouting but not living inspiring words.

I’m not suggesting that’s Boeing. It was Boeing, after all, that supposedly got 2,000 people in a room (hangar – try finding a room that 2,000 people will fit in) and got them, collectively, to come up with a ‘Critical Mass Intervention’ to steer the company towards its next big product – The Dreamliner. That ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ leadership seems to me to be more pertinent today. It’s a form of leadership everyone is involved in and can buy into.

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