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Happy anniversary to the Wizard of Oz celebrating 79 years on August 25th.

Dorothy was pretty smart. She surrounded herself with interesting characters. She could see the forest for the trees (now poppy’s, those were a little trickier) and she knew a sham when she saw one. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” HA! The wizard didn’t need those silly props. He just needed these:

  • Strategic decision-making ability
  • Organizational courage
  • Situational leadership

It’s the special sauce. It’s what all good leaders need.

Forbes was kind enough to provide us a list of traits: https://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2013/01/15/10-traits-of-courageous-leaders/#2a3d2e334fc0

Harvard Business Review took it a step further in an article written by Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas. They cite specific examples that we can learn from, and zero in on the topic of overcoming adversity. Read it here – https://hbr.org/2002/09/crucibles-of-leadership

In it, they talked about the “crucibles” of leadership, the most important being your ability to overcome adversity. If only the Wizard could have gotten over his own insecurities. Now, he was also peddling magical powers and abilities beyond mere mortals, which helps us understand, (but not excuse), the smoke and mirrors he was using. –And delving into that issue requires a different blog.

If the Wizard had simply been honest and pragmatic, could he have helped his subjects lead happy lives and deal with the green witch? I think so. Imagine the embarrassment he could have saved himself in that “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain moment”. Although, truthfully, I would have been sad to lose all the great metaphors that have come from it.

Leaders who can face problems head-on, who can adapt to the hurdle before them, those are the leaders we all want to work for. They are the people who we can comfortably work for, knowing that when the green witch and her weird army of flying monkeys come for us, our leader can be trusted to keep us safe and pointed in the right direction.

Give some thought to your career and times when you have seen a leader who was courageous or someone who came at a problem with a unique or strategic solution. Take it a step further and write those examples down. Keep them at your desk as a reference. Talk to other leaders in your organization and share ideas. We all can learn from each other. Take William and Charlie Mayo. The way they grew their father’s “clinic” in Rochester, MN to become the premiere healthcare system in the world is nothing short of exceptional leadership.

Read more about their story here – http://www.pbs.org/about/blogs/news/the-mayo-clinic-faith-hope-science-a-new-documentary-executive-produced-by-ken-burns-to-air-on-pbs-tuesday-september-25-2018-9-11-pm-et-on-pbs/

Bottom line: Leading, really leading, starts with you. How you face challenges, share ideas and lead your team is critical to how they (and you) get through adversity. Don’t be a smoke and mirrors leader because your team is going to know pretty quickly if you are just a talking head.