What Authentic Leaders Know

There are many ways to fail as a leader but only one way to succeed.

John Maxwell said it best when he said that you can care for people without leading them but you cannot lead people without caring for them. 

Way too many wanna be leaders aspire to a position that will “force” or require people to follow them. They fail to realize that no one follows a position. People follow people, not positions or titles. They also fail to understand that no one can be forced to follow, they can only be forced to comply. 

When your people merely comply their growth is limited. When you as a leader limit the growth of your people you also limit your growth and the growth of your organization as well.

Authentic leaders aspire to be the type of person that people will want to follow. They have learned that people follow leaders who genuinely care about them. I use the word “genuinely” because you can only pretend to care for a relatively short period of time. Sooner or later your supposed followers will see you for the fraud that you are.

If you expect people to follow you then you should expect to do the things required of a leader.  You must care about your people.

If you do not possess the human capacity to care for another individual you do not possess the capacity to lead. All authentic leaders know that if you cannot care about others you will not succeed, long term, as a leader. 

The good news is that you can learn to care. You can learn to invest time with your people instead of spending time on them. 

Invest your time learning about them as people. You’re not likely to care about an employee number but you just might care when you see them as a person, just like other people you care about. 

Slow down, learn about the motivations, the goals, the aspirations, and even the challenges of your people. They are real! They matter, your success depends on them. 

It’s tough to care about people you don’t know about and it’s impossible to lead people you don’t care about. If you think you can you’re even misleading yourself.

How Micromanaging Kills a Business

Let’s get this part out of the way early. If you’re a leader who micromanages your people then you’re a leader with very serious limitations. You’re also a leader who likely won’t think much of this post.

Leaders who insist on micro-managing, have a problem; they believe they must check on every detail and they are most likely an insecure leader. Their leadership is based on a lack of faith and trust in other people. It is repressive. It leads to little or no growth. It discourages the development of their people. It focuses on problems of detail, many of which are inconsequential, and it discourages teamwork. If they micro-manage often enough or long enough and they will kill their business. 

They take positive attributes – an attention to detail and a hands-on attitude – to the extreme. Either because they are control-obsessed, or because they feel driven to push everyone around them to success, they risk disempowering their people. They ruin their confidence, hurt their performance, and frustrate them to the point where they may quit.

They limit each individual’s ability to develop and grow, and they also limit what their entire team can achieve, because everything has to go through them.

They don’t trust their employees or their judgment, and they are unwilling to allow them to assume any responsibility. They are cheating themselves of the ability they are paying for. 

Micro-managing may work for a while but in time, it acts like an anchor on all progress. Innovation, new products, and new markets are discouraged as the talent to create and move forward has been banished by the micro-manager.

The inability of micro-managers to “let go” and let other people make some decisions and perhaps even risk failure, ensures that the growth of the organization and it’s people will be severely restricted. 

People who are micro-managed stop being productive. Given even the most basic of assignments, they “learn” to wait for direction. If they are micro-managed long enough they completely disengage from the organization and simply “go through the motions” until they finally leave or are fired. When enough people disengage the business dies, slowly perhaps but it does eventually die.

Micro-managing is not about the weakness of the team, it’s about the weakness of the leader. 

If you’re a leader that suffers this weakness then you must exercise your leadership skills through effective delegation. Delegation is the single greatest tool for building future leaders but it’s also a great tool to help micro-managers break free from the limitations that come from attempting to do it all themselves. 

My next post will discuss a seven-step delegation process that virtually ensures an effective outcome. If you want to build your people you won’t want to miss it! 

Why There Is Gridlock in Washington, DC


If you’re a US citizen, or even a citizen of another country that is concerned about the world’s economies, you may have noticed that Washington, DC is a total mess.

I watch lots of news programs and read lots of new publications everyday. It makes no difference if it’s the “far left liberal” media, the “fair and balanced” bunch or the “far right conservatives”, they all have two things in common: they have a point of view to get across and they hardly ever tell us what’s really going on.

The gridlock in Washington is not caused by a difference of opinion. It’s not caused by opposing viewpoints. Differences of opinion and viewpoints are not only healthy, they are in fact a necessary ingredient of good decision making. It’s not caused by uninformed or uneducated people, I think the people that are sent to Washington are by and large, some very smart people.

The gridlock in Washington is caused by a lack of leadership, or more accurately, some very poor leadership. You can’t really blame one party over the other, there is so little decent leadership that there is plenty of blame to go around.

So why is it that these “leaders” don’t lead? Well, I have a few ideas on that!

First, and this is by far the biggest problem, they put their wants and needs above the wants and needs of the people (and country) that they are supposed to be leading. They have somehow gotten into their heads that their leading is about them. They are about as far away from the “servant leader” model as someone in a leadership position could be. Their “win at all costs” mentality hurts everyone that they are supposed to serve. Make no mistake, the havoc caused by the poor leadership in Washington is affecting everyone, no Republican or Democrat will be spared from this near total lack of leadership.

Second, they have completely forgotten whose money they are spending. A tax refund is not the government giving us some of their money, it is the government returning to us some of our money. The talk in Washington about giving us more money to spend by reducing our taxes is laughable.

Third, and perhaps the most maddening, they have completely forgotten who they work for. In case you have forgotten as well, let me remind you. The people WE send to Washington, DC to conduct the nation’s business on our behalf work for US. Imagine what would happen to you if your job required that you develop and implement a budget on an annual basis and you failed to do that for years. I know you probably can’t imagine a scenario like that because it would never happen, it couldn’t happen because you would have been fired after the first year.

These elected individuals in Washington, DC should at least have the decency to return their paychecks to the Federal Reserve. They didn’t earn it and I see no reason that they should keep it.

Almost all of them got themselves elected by talking about going to Washington to lead. That being the case we need to make sure we don’t dump all the blame on John or Harry or Nancy or even just Barack. They all claimed the mantle of leadership when they were running for office so they should all except their share of the responsibility.

So… call or write the “leader” that works for you and tell them to either start leading or get the heck out of the way and give someone else a chance. Remind them that it’s your money they are talking about, that they work for you and that it’s your wants and needs they should be considering.

We the People of the United States of America can no longer afford their poor, no vision, no compromise, no caring, no direction, no future, leadership. If they can’t lead then they need to go and go now!