Graham🐝 Edwards in Leadership, Directors and Executives, Business Consulting Principal • GPEStratagem Aug 7, 2016 · 1 min read · 1.2K

Ever hear of "Leadership Leprosy"? I hadn't...

I was told a story the other day that introduced me to the concept of "Leadership Leprosy"... it went something like this.

A friend of mine was recently at a networking event and happened to meet someone who brought up the concept of "Leadership Leprosy"; the person went on to explain he had forwarded the concept onto his boss in an email (as part of a managing-up exercise I suppose), and was fired for it.

Ever hear of "Leadership Leprosy"? I hadn't...To this I asked, "What's Leadership Leprosy?" He went on to tell me and I then did some more research which I will say did not include reading the book entitled Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth  by Samuel R. Chand who introduced the term.

The book (I didn't read) also introduces this premise: 

                                              Growth = Change

                                                Change = Loss

                                                    Loss = Pain

                                             Thus, Growth = Pain  

From there it was pointed out Leadership that doesn’t produce pain "is either in a short season of unusual blessing or it isn’t really making a difference". 

The author also introduced his experience with lepers in India and how the disease impacts a person's ability to feel pain which severely damages parts of their body (noses, ears, fingers, and toes). This happens because those inflicted don’t sense the warning signs of pain to stay away from dangers - It is with this the author connects "Leadership and Leprosy"... so now you have it.

Leadership Leprosy is a term applied to a leader who avoids (or can't appreciate) "pain", reflecting their lack of ability to drive growth, change and "make a difference". - At least this is how I interpret it. 

Is there a point to all of this other than information transfer? Not really... I just want to pass on a story and something new I've learned.


Wait... I guess I do have something more to say (again with the caveat that I haven't read the book so maybe what I am about to say is covered off), I do agree that Change = Loss but Change can also = Gain, and although Gain doesn't generally = Pain, getting to the Gain most likely does. In the end I guess I have a new leadership concept for my "tool bag" and as off putting as the term is, I suspect it does have utility.

And one more thing, if I take the story at face value and the person was fired for forwarding the concept of "Leadership Leprosy" onto his boss, he should either be glad that he is no longer part of that organization or he should be a little more reflective as to why he was really fired. 

Just saying.

OK, now iamgpe

PS: I've just added Leadership Pain: The Classroom for growth to my reading list. 

Graham🐝 Edwards Aug 9, 2016 · #7

#6 Don't feel sorry for him as it was a miscast from the beginning... he's a very talented and successful CFO and will do just fine. I think he has been given a great opportunity to explore the opportunities around him and be happy. Thanks @Aurorasa Sima

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Aurorasa Sima Aug 8, 2016 · #6

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joyce albert Aug 8, 2016 · #5

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Graham🐝 Edwards Aug 8, 2016 · #4

#2 I didn't read the book but I did read the white paper by the author who summarizing his book... that became the core of my buzz. My take-away was that Leaders need to drive change to make a difference and unfortunately that change will include pain. This then leads to your point that "Change Management" become key to managing people through the change (both internal and external). I'm a big fan of the book "Who Moved My Cheese" when it comes to this topic. Oh it wasn't my friend who got fired over Leadership Leprosy but someone he met at a networking event. My friend got fired because he's not very good at "Change Management" and doesn't play well with others for that matter. Thank you so much for your comment @Aurorasa Sima

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Graham🐝 Edwards Aug 8, 2016 · #3

#1 The term "Leprosy Leadership" is very hard on the ears to be sure but I will concede it is memorable. I appreciate your comment @Mohammed A. Jawad

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Aurorasa Sima Aug 8, 2016 · #2

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Mohammed Abdul Jawad Aug 7, 2016 · #1

Oh...@Graham Edwards 'Leadership Leprosy' sounds strange to my ears...even for the first time I have heard it. If we go further, then hearing 'lepers in management' would be more indigestible. Yes, its other explanatory remarks is okay. I guess, we can say, 'Limping leadership of a lethargic leader'.:)

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