A Wednesday of Irony

Isn’t it ironic that failure can breed success?

I woke up with irony on my mind and thought – why not?

Irony comes from a Greek word meaning – simulated ignorance. This seems appropriate as irony is often Greek to me.

Irony in Business and Leadership

If attitude reflects leadership, and engagement is an outcome of attitude, then engagement is a result of leadership.  –  Phil Brandt

Character strengths are an important contributor to leader effectiveness. We found that when you consider leader level, some character strengths are more important than others. As leaders move up the organizational ladder, they may become unaware of the repercussions of the outward display of their character. This is one reason why self-awareness is so important to effective leadership. Leadership development initiatives are important for all leaders in an organization. And, whatever leadership development initiative is chosen, there should be a focus on increasing or enhancing self-awareness around competencies related to character strengths. Middle-level managers should focus on social intelligence as well as integrity, particularly if they have aspirations for succeeding in top-level positions where integrity is of the utmost importance. Those at the very top of organizations should try to get as much honest feedback about their integrity as they can. If not addressed in time, this blind spot could lead to failure, infamy, or worse for more than just the primary individuals involved, as evidenced by the devastating and far-reaching consequences of the many recent well-publicized organizational and public scandals such as those cited at the beginning of this paper.  –  The Irony of Integrity, The Center for Creative Leadership

An environment where leaders have to empower others is fundamentally a disempowering environment – one which uses heroic top-down leadership to get beyond heroic top-down leadership, thus fundamentally relying on the very thing it seeks to transcend.  –  The Irony of Empowerment, Brian Robertson

… the most effective leaders are those who know how to serve and develop those they are leading. This is the ‘apparent irony’ of effective leadership. Many people, including numerous CEOs and politicians, aspire to their leadership positions because they want more power, perks, prestige and money for themselves. Such individuals often end up being very poor leaders. In contrast, those who view leadership as an opportunity to grow people, build effective teams, and model hard work and personal sacrifice, are extremely effective in terms of helping their organizations achieve great things.  –  The Apparent Irony of Effective Leadership, Dr. Scott Chambers

Irony stems from the Greek wordeironeia’ which was defined as simulated ignorance. That about sums up the definition of the Ironic Leader; it’s someone who simultaneously ignores her team whilst conveying the exact opposite of what she is purporting. It’s like a dog owner is saying ‘sit’ to her dog yet the dog is deaf and the owner actually wants the dog to go for a walk.  –  The Ironic Leader, Dan Pontefract

Is it ironic that many people misunderstand irony?