Weak Leaders – Part Four

Weak Leaders lack humility. They mistakenly believe that their title or position makes them a leader. They all too often also believe it makes them a better person than someone without that title or position. 

That causes all kind of behaviors that negatively impact their ability to lead. It makes it very challenging for them to share credit or provide recognition to their people. They take credit for the good work of their people. That’s bad enough but as we talked about in an earlier post, they also heap blame upon their people when something goes wrong. That combination is an absolute morale killer. 

Weak Leaders believe a leadership position provides them with certain privileges that others are not entitled to. Scheduling flexibility, work attire, special parking places, more lenient policies, and a host of other perks. 

What weak leaders don’t understand is that those “privileges” build a wall between themselves and their people. That wall makes it very difficult to develop the relationships required to truly lead. It causes a lack of trust and even open hostility. It’s creates an “us vs them” culture which hamstrings every initiative the leader may attempt, whether it’s a worthwhile initiative or not.

One of the biggest challenges to bringing down those walls is that they are seldom seen from the weak leaders side of the wall. But on the followers side they are noticeable for miles. 

Strong Authentic Leaders don’t have to concern themselves with bringing down walls because they don’t allow them to be erected in the first place. They work tirelessly to connect, often one-on-one with as many members of their team as possible. They don’t see leadership as providing them with privileges, they see leading others as a privilege to be earned.

Strong Authentic Leaders not only give recognition to their people they thank them for their efforts. They realize something weak leaders often don’t…that thanking people doesn’t make you look weak, it helps make you an Authentic Leader. 

Weak Leaders have little or no communication with the majority of their followers. Most of the information they receive about what’s happening in their organization is heavily filtered by those closest to the top of the organization. This further separates them from the people they lead.  It results in an even more detrimental culture within the organization. 

Strong Authentic Leaders communicate with all levels of the organization on a near daily basis. They connect with people directly to show their interest in them. They let them know that their role in the organization matters. They know it’s not possible to over communicate or care to much. 

If you believe your leadership position provides you with privileges that others don’t deserve you may want to think again. The privileges you’re so fond of are limiting your opportunities to be an Authentic Leader.  They are also strengthening that wall between you and your people. Walls are good for many things, building the relationships required for leading is not one of them. 

How Humble are You?

I am likely the most humble person you will ever meet. That’s saying a lot because I’m also better at most everything I do than anyone else you’ve ever met. 

 

In the interest of time let me say I’m great at everything, especially being humble. 

 

Now that may not sound humble to some people but when you’re as awesome as I am even my humbleness looks like bragging. 

 

Well…maybe not. I have to admit that was kinda fun to write but the truth is that my greatest real strength is that I’m incredibly average. That’s not me trying to be humble, it’s a measurable fact. From my height and weight, numbers of wives, (one) number of kids, (two) number of dogs, (two) I’m about as average as an average person can be. 

 

I might be better at some stuff than others but others are better at some stuff than me. It all works out to about average. I’ve learned through the years that being average is a big advantage. I understand average people, I share their concerns, challenges, and in many cases their hopes for the future. 

 

My “averageness” has been a huge advantage when writing training programs or presenting in front of groups. Since I’ve long ago accepted the fact I’m just like 99% of other people I don’t have to pretend I’m something I’m not. I get that some people won’t like me and some people will. It’s always been that way and it always will. I don’t think I could change anything about me to make more people like me and even if I could I have no interest in changing for someone else’s sake. 

 

Being average makes it easy to be humble. I’m really not more or less humble than anyone else, I’d say I’m about average at that too. 

 

Being humble has it’s advantages. Humble leaders are not only better liked they are also more effective. That effectiveness comes from the fact that they are better able to connect with their people. Nobody likes a snobby leader and almost nobody follows one either. 

 

Humble people have better relationships overall. If you’re wondering why see the paragraph above. Humble people are more helpful. “Serving” others is not beneath them. They make a difference wherever, whenever and for whomever they can. 

 

On average humble people perform better at work. They are not afraid to ask for help, they willingly accept feedback and use it to better themselves. They make better teammates and cause far fewer issues for their leaders than less humble people. 

 

I have never taken or taught a class on how to be humble. I would think that anyone who thought themselves qualified to teach that class would immediately be deemed unqualified. I think you “learn” humility by seeing it modeled by other people. 

 

You learn humility from mistakes but mistakes can teach you humility only if you’re humble enough to own up to them. Is that a catch 22?


It feels like I should close this post by recommending that you try being more humble. I’m not sure you can actually try to work on that. I think you either are or you aren’t. So here’s a different recommendation instead….try being more honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. That ought to make anyone more humble.