Leaders: Evolve or Die

Pepper de Callier

For many years people have pulled me aside at meetings, conferences, cocktail parties and dinners, in search of a simple answer to a question they had obviously been struggling with: What does it take to be a leader? To say that this is a very complex question that defies a simple answer is an understatement in the extreme.

In conducting research for the Prague Leadership Institute, I read a variety of papers, articles and books and talk to leaders from around the world to keep abreast of the changing world of leadership on a global basis.

Are You One?

Pepper de Callier

Let me begin by apologizing for the use of a profanity in this column, but I must admit that in this specific context it is more expressive than any other word in the English language for describing a certain kind of boss or co-worker that everyone can relate to. I’m of course talking about someone who is known to his or her colleagues for their singular, and quite effective, ability to poison any environment they enter by their nasty, demeaning, obnoxious, embarrassing abuse of authority or power (sometimes even physical power) as an asshole.

Were You Born to Be a Leader?

Pepper de Callier

The short answer to this question is no.

To understand why this is good news for you and your followers, please read on.

I am a self-confessed leadership nerd. I have been absolutely fascinated by the topic of leadership since I was a young boy and have devoted my professional career to studying leaders and trying to understand how people become leaders.

The “Rosetta Stone” of Leadership 1-2

Pepper de Callier

In 1799, a French Lieutenant in Napoleon’s army uncovered an ancient Egyptian artifact in the port city of Rashid (known as Rosetta today), Egypt. It was a discovery—celebrated with great enthusiasm—that would unlock the centuries-old mystery of how to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Since then, the Rosetta Stone has become a metaphor for any discovery that unlocks, deciphers, or explains something of great value that had been previously difficult, if not impossible, to understand.

Just such a discovery has been made by social scientists regarding leadership.

A Three Minute Motivational Course For Leaders

Pepper de Callier

“This group can do more. They need to do more! I don’t know what’s wrong with them. I take them on off-site meetings and have dinners for them, but they just don’t get it—they’re not motivated. I’m already spending a fortune on these ‘feel good’ things. What do I have to do now? Get somebody from HR in here! They better have some ideas!”