Being present and open:

The other day I was approached by a member of the health club I go to who had just finished reading my book. He felt the book dealt with leadership in ways he strongly believed in and has not read in other books. He was enthused enough to ask if I’d speak to a professional group he belongs to. Of course, it pleased me to hear him express his pleasure with the book. But what he said intrigued me. He told me that I was communicating with two different groups at the same time. 

“On the one hand, you speak candidly to leaders about their power to influence those important to them. That through a leaders words and actions their followers are aided in their desire to grow or are restricted in their efforts ‘to be’ and contribute.” He agreed fully that most problems in an organization are the result of poor leadership. “On the other hand,” he continued, “you also speak forthe silent and disenfranchised majority, all of this often on the same page and most pages. Also, you don’t tell the subordinates what to do and how to communicate with troubled leadership. This is not a “self-help book” for followers.  What you do is confront the leader with their responsibilities and the importance of authenticity with their key people. You also make it apparent that whether the leader is aware or not they are teacher, sometimes student and definitely a role model to those most important to them.”

In a recent paper (and probably a few others) I explain that I wrote the book about a relationship philosophy that took years of work and study (which never ceases) and both fortunate and unfortunate personal experiences. Like good soup it took time and ingredients to form into a philosophy that is teachable and of proven value to people in personal and work situations. Many of you have contributed much to its creation and know it is not theoretical, esoteric meanderings or wishful thinking. It is practical, a hammer and saw, if you will, and is clearly hands on, in your face communication. In fact, is there a better path to genuine dialogue and mutuality? Being a mentor to other organizations made it possible for me to realize what it is that I know about communication and how to teach others this gift. Even now the lesson learned yesterday continues to pay dividends today.

In addition to the above there is much I’ve learned about what I’ve written, about myself and how important others have been to me. Not a few leaders have said to me that had they been aware of their power when running their own business applying this philosophy of leadership would, not could, have made a huge difference in the success of their business. I often think of my own ignorance and the many incidents that pushed me this or that way. Yes, not being aware of one’s role as a leader/role model and the influence that comes with these positions means dysfunction to individuals and relationships. In its broadest sense this is what creates the ‘disenfranchised majority’ I refer to above. They are silent, passive and pawns to most leaders, but are they?

Ignorance of one’s power over others is no excuse, try as most leaders do to fault others for the omissions and errors in daily work and personal lives. Acceptance and awareness of the gift that power is, and using this power to empower those we have influence over is what every leader needs to do. Whether received openly or rejected this then becomes the responsibility of those we are initially responsible for.  So, really, no one changes anyone. Only the individual self can do that.                             


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *