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The Enabling Conditions of Leadership

The Secret Language of Leadership (October 2007) explains that the language of transformational leadership will sound glib and superficial unless certain enabling conditions are in place. The book identifies six enabling conditions.

  • An inspiring leadership goal: Why isn’t winning likely to be a goal that inspires enthusiasm? What’s involved in crafting a goal that can inspire enthusiasm?
  • Committing to the goal: The fox knows many things, while the hedgehog knows one thing. Transformational leaders are hedgehogs: of all the many things that could be accomplished in the world, they focus on a goal and pursue that with relentless intensity. The intensity of their belief in the goal is reflected in the stories they communicate.
  • Narrative intelligence: Why is this key to the central task of leadership? What are its dimensions? How can you measure it? What’s the difference between direct and indirect narrative and why does it matter? What are the relative strengths of abstract versus narrative modes of presentation? Of direct versus indirect modes of presentation?
  • Leadership presence: the body language of leadership: What are the essential basics of leadership presence, that turn ordinary presentations into the extraordinary? What’s the role of leadership online? Can written leadership communications inspire? What’s the appropriate role of PowerPoint in inspirational leadership?
  • The role of truthfulness in leadership: Why is truthfulness an essential element in leadership? When does it make sense to shade the truth? Is it feasible in business to be fully truthful?

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