KARL MOORE – This Is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, with Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. (He is interviewing Major General Chris Whitecross, chief military engineer of the Canadian Forces.)
How do you define leadership? What is leadership? You are one…
CHRIS WHITECROSS – I am one. In the simplest frame it is just getting people to do what you need them to do and hope they enjoy it while they are doing it.
KARL MOORE – But more importantly it is to get it done.
CHRIS WHITECROSS – Is to get it done.
KARL MOORE – And they might not always enjoy that?
CHRIS WHITECROSS – No, they may not.
KARL MOORE – When you look at it, I had this argument with one of the senior leaders on a recent trip – he said that, “I don’t want to know my people, I don’t want to have them over for dinner. I have a task for them to do and if they have problems then they have to be adults and deal with it.” Other people look at leadership as having to know your people, understand who they are, their families and things like that. When do you see leadership falling in that continuum?
CHRIS WHITECROSS – I am completely at odds with your friend because if you don’t know your people, if you don’t know their family situations, if you don’t know what makes them tick, if you don’t know what makes them go and what are their motivating factors then how can you inspire them in time of war? How can you inspire them in times of crisis or whatever? How can you not just inspire them but motivate them to do what needs to be done at a time where they obviously don’t want to do it? They are tired, fatigued or whatever – angry, upset or depressed but the job has to get done! How can you do that if you don’t know them?