Drucker on Leadership
Peter Ferdinand Drucker, one of the most respected management thinkers of the twentieth century was a prolific writer, professor, management consultant and social ecologist. Business Week hailed him as the man who invented management. He directly influenced a huge number of leaders from a wide range of organisations across all sectors of society such as General Electric, IBM, Intel, Proctor & Gamble, Girl Scouts of the USA, The Salvation Army, Red Cross, United Farm Workers.
Drucker wrote 39 books and several scholarly and popular articles. He was prophetic in his writings and predicted many of the major developments of the late 20th century, including privatisation and decentralisation, the rise of Japan to economic world power, the decisive importance of marketing and innovation, and the emergence of information society the necessity of lifelong learning.
Winston Churchill after reading Drucker’s first major work, The End of Economic man in 1939, described him as one of those writers to whom almost anything can be forgiven because he not only has a mind of his own, but has the gift of starting other minds along a stimulating line of thought.
Drucker had a distinguished career as consultant and teacher. He started his teaching career first as a professor of politics and philosophy at Bennington College from 1942 to 1949 and moved over to New York University as a professor of management for the next twenty years (1950-1971). He went to California in 1971, where he developed one of the country’s first Executive MBA programs for working professionals at Claremont Graduate University. From 1971 until his death, he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont. The Claremont Graduate University’s management school was named the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management in his honour in 1987, which was later renamed as Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management. Drucker taught his last class in 2002 at the age of 92.
Here are some of the awards and honours bestowed upon Drucker:
A. Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President George W. Bush in 2002.
B. Grand Silver Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria in 1974.
C. Grand Gold Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria in 1991.
D. Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class in 1999.
E. Order of the Sacred Treasure, Japan in 1966
F. New York University’s highest honour, its Presidential Citation in 1969.
G. Seven McKinsey Awards for articles published in Harvard Business Review, the most awarded to one person.
H. Junior Achievement US Business Hall of Fame in 1996.
I. Third most influential management book of the 20th century award for his 1954 book – the Practice of Management.
J. Naming of the Eleventh Street between College Avenue and Dartmouth Avenue in Claremont, California as Drucker Way in October 2009.
Here are twelve gems on leadership from Drucker’s writings:
1. Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
2. Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.
3. Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.
4. The leaders who work mod effectively, it seems to me never say, “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. this is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
5. Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.
6. Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.
7. Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.
8. People in any organisation are always attached to the obsolete – the things that would have worked but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.
9. Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
10. The three most charismatic leaders in this century inflicted more suffering on the human are than almost any trio in history: Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. What matters is not the leader’s charisma. What matters is the leader’s mission.
11. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.
12. The best way to predict the future… is to create it.