There Is No Magic Pill For Great Leadership (Except This One)



One of my favorite acts of masochism is reading career articles on LinkedIn’s “recommended for you” page. It’s always a gigantic septic tank of wishy-washy, insipid, substance-free fluff pieces with a few golden turds related to actual business happenings. They have titles like “5 Ways to Unlock your Employees’ Potential”. It blows my mind, because people are paid to write this shit. Take for example this piece by Roberta Matuson called “There Is No Magic Pill For Great Leadership”:

All quotes via

I’ve been interviewing a number of executives for my new book, The Magnetic Workplace (Nicholas Brealey, 2013) and so far my findings have been rather interesting. There is no magic pill for great leadership. Yet many organizations believe they can solve problems by handing someone a book (even if it’s authored by me) or sending them to a one-day management training program at the local Holiday Inn. The results by themselves are usually disappointing.

What, you mean there’s no magic pill? Well shit, tell Pfizer to stop what they’re doing and go home. At least this drivel contains realistic, if not obvious truisms, right? Wait a minute…

Here’s how great leadership is created:

Really getting to know your people. You have to be willing to put in the time to really get to know your people so that you can work with them to build on their strengths. Put down your smartphone, walk around your desk, and invite one of your people to lunch.

Oh God damn you Roberta. She goes on like that for seven IQ-lowering paragraphs, with such nuggets of wisdom as “spend money on things that are worth spending money on” or “don’t complain if you hire me as a consultant and don’t like what I’m telling you”. Don’t tell me that there’s no “magic pill” for something and then go on to offer what is essentially your form of a magic pill.

Oh, you’re just writing fluff pieces to promote your book without actually offering a site’s readers anything of value? My bad, carry on then.

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