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Líderes devem cultivar humildade

Fevereiro 7, 2009

Acabei de ler um artigo muito interessante no The Washington Post do Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor de Comportamento Organizacional na Graduate School of Business (Stanford University). O titulo é “A Arrogância do Poder”:

“Research in social psychology consistently reveals the corrupting effects of power: disinhibition and a diminished focus on those with less power. Influence distances those with it from those with less influence. At the same time, the ability to understand another’s point of view, and to put oneself in the other’s place, is one of the most critical factors that affects ability to obtain influence and is a critical skill for everyone, including organizational leaders.
All of this is to make the point that although auto executives flying to Washington on private jets as they beg for government help and financial industry leaders paying out lavish bonuses even as they get government bailout funds is certainly inappropriate, even stupid behavior, it is far from unusual or incomprehensible. The higher you go in an organization, the more those around you are going to tell you that you are right. The higher reaches of organizations–which includes government, too, in case you slept through the past eight years–are largely absent of critical thought. That makes it tough for leaders to understand the point of view of others or, for that matter, to uncover problems or to figure out effective strategies.
There is also evidence, including some wonderful studies by business school professor Don Hambrick at Penn State, that shows the corroding effects of ego. Leaders filled with hubris are more likely to overpay for acquisitions and engage in other risky strategies. Leaders ought to cultivate humility. They certainly need to build cultures in which people can and will disagree with them over substantive decisions. They ought to get out and experience the world as others see it–maybe actually meet customers and shareholders, and they need to talk less and listen more.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for any of this to happen. The few leaders who “get it” tend to preside over more effective organizations. The rest cruise along until their arrogance and insensitivity catches up with them.”

Não é dificil resgatar experiências semelhantes ao fenômeno que ele descreve, mesmo que você não tenha se sentado na cadeira de CEO. Basta ter trilhado o mundo corporativo por suficiente tempo para saber que, se não for cuidadoso, qualquer um numa posição de comando pode perder perspectiva da função. Inclusive tenho visto isto acontecer também com executivos recém-promovidos. Eles começam modestos e com boas intenções mas, após um tempo, o poder sobe à cabeça, ficam isolados, deixam de interagir sinergicamente e começam a comprometer a qualidade das suas decisões…

Fica a pergunta: como o CEO, ou alguém em posição de autoridade e poder, evita esta armadilha?

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