The Changing Face of U.S. Leadership (Update)

By | May 20, 2014

[May 20, 2014] Why a New York Times Executive Editor was suddenly fired last week is something we may never know. But there are indications that it may have been her leadership approach and ultimately a conflict with the publisher over her style. There has been a lot of speculation on her dismissal that allows us a glimpse into the world of senior leadership.

I suggested earlier this month (link here), that the face of leadership in America is changing. That change is in reaction to a number of factors in the U.S. such as increases in worker power and sensitivity of management to this workplace shift. The reasons for the change, however, are less important than the change itself.

The change of leadership styles is moving toward a greater awareness and sensitivity of that leader to the people they lead. There is an expectation that leaders do a better job of “taking care of employees.” I’ve already proposed that doing so is an important trait of senior leaders.

There are some that argue this change is connected to more women leaders in the workforce. While I don’t disagree with this reasoning, I believe there could be risk if this new trait emphasizes social interaction over decision making qualities. Many in the military believe that is exactly what is happening.

Are we at the point that leadership is defined by our popularity? Is leadership less about decision-making or making experienced judgments? Only time will tell.

All leaders, in particular senior leaders, should be sensitive to the changing dynamics of leadership. The NYT executive editor was not sensitive to the needs of her subordinates. Her style was described as nasty, brutish, and belittling – certainly not what we would describe as sensitive.

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[1] Newsmax Article: 14 May 2014 by Joe Schaeffer:

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.