From bankers to resources guys, from IT service-providers to CTOs, over the past several weeks one of the persistent refrains that I've been listening to is the need for leadership to be "in touch," even with the highest levels of executives; and the all-too-familiar failure of senior management to actually fulfill this need. As my good friend and co-author Andy Boynton, Dean of the Carroll School at Boston College, is so fond of saying: "Leadership is a contact sport." Yet, more often than not, leaders are not to be seen; too busy, too distant: conspicuous by their absence.
In many ways, the Virtuoso Teams book was all about "Virtuoso Leaders," who were always, always, in the center of things; fingers on the pulse of the team, well-aware of what and who was going on. This may be considerably more difficult in complex organizations, especially when they are geographically dispersed, but it does not excuse the absence of leadership presence that I am daily hearing about, almost everywhere I go.