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Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby is an anthropologist and psychoanalyst globally recognized as an expert on leadership. He is the author of The Leaders We Need, And What Makes Us Follow.

Unconditional love + responsibility

A leadership philosophy should include the purpose of the organization, the practical values necessary to achieve that purpose and the way results are defined.

I have learned much from many leaders I've read about and worked with, but the one who most influenced my leadership philosophy was Father William Wasson (1923-2006), the founder of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (Our Little Brothers and Sisters), which now has homes for orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Father Wasson's purpose was not only to save the lives of these children but to develop them into productive citizens and good Christians, which he defined as people who care for each other and contribute to the well-being of others. The practical values he preached and practiced balanced unconditional love with work, responsibility, and sharing. The children would feel safe and protected, but they had to take part in the work of cleaning, food preparation, and caring for each other. As long as they worked at their studies, they would be supported in their schooling.

This philosophy has proved to be effective. Some of the children have become doctors, agronomists, teachers and managers (the executive director of NPH is an ex-pequeno as are the directors of four homes). Others have been trained to be craftsmen and craftswomen.

Father Wasson's philosophy influenced my thinking in leading large projects at AT&T and other companies, which aimed at improving work according to both economic and human criteria: to make organizations more productive and to make work more satisfying. The practical values we built into these projects balanced employment security and opportunity for continual learning for employees with their increased responsibility and collaboration.

By Michael Maccoby

 |  February 18, 2010; 11:39 AM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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