Leadership—So Misunderstood

Leaving the aging issue I’ve been writing about, I am compelled to write on one of my favorite subjects, power, and leadership. I’m at home with these topics not only because of years of research but also my personal interest in what it means to be a leader. As most of you know, I was a leader for well over 27 years and admit to complete ignorance of what it took to be a leader. 

I led as a “deaf, dumb, and blind” leader of children and young staff. I never asked or questioned what kind of leader I was. I did my job as best I could and demanded this from those I worked with. I listened and did what I could to make problems go away. I tried hard not to interfere but to let people and kids do their jobs and be their best. Now, in my old age. I am told that I was a good leader. Still, I dig deep to understand what I did and why.

Later on, when asked to help professionals with their staff issues, I thought this would be a “cakewalk.”  But I quickly discovered that those problems that existed with and between staff were of a minor nature. It was the leader and their power and influence over their staff which was the real problem. This turned me into an avid student of power, leadership, relationships, and, ultimately, dialogue.

I, the former leader, was now the student and mentor to other powerful people that were as ignorant of the part they played in the behavior of their staff as I was. I learned the secrets of power that worked when used to foster good, growth, personal achievement, and relationships. I also discovered that parenting and leadership are identical. Whoever holds the power creates the environment, whether it be home or office. 

I set about getting this message across, not as a tool but as an attribute of the leader. The leaders had to become aware of their power. They had to become vulnerable and witnessed as such by their staff and their children. They had to reach for and attain genuine dialogue with those they led.

My goal was to flatten the pyramid of power into as level a playing field as possible. Thus, instead of monologue and top-down control, people become empowered to speak in their own voice.  Amazing how well this works and how good relationships become fact.


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

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