Who is Leading Who?

One of the main responsibilities of a leader is to fire their people! Not actually fire them but fire them up. 

 

Fire them up as in motivate them, challenge them, coach them, help them grow and help them succeed, again and again. If you’re in a leadership position and you’re not doing those things on a daily basis then you are simply not leading. 

 

If you’re in a leadership position and you’re not actually leading then you’re hurting the people you’re supposed to be helping. You’re also not helping the organization that has placed you into that leadership position and provided you with the opportunity to lead. 

 

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your position makes you a leader. The only thing, the one and only thing that makes you a leader is leading. If you find yourself in a leadership position while lacking the skills required to truly lead then it is YOUR responsibility to seek out the help and training that you need to be a successful leader. 

 

Don’t wait for someone else to make you a leader, don’t expect the help you need to come to you. If you’re going to lead others then you must first lead yourself so lead yourself to the coaching you need to become a true leader.

 

If you’re following someone in a leadership position who lacks the skills to lead then you have three choices. 

 

You could just complain about it. You could point out their failings at every opportunity and become a drag on the entire organization. I’ve done that and it didn’t really work out well for anyone, especially me. 

 

You could, and should, attempt to lead up. By that I mean help fill the gaps of the person who is supposed to be leading you. You’ve no doubt already identified those gaps so try to use your own strengths to minimize the challenges those gaps cause within your company or organization. 

 

I’ll warn you that you may not get the recognition you deserve for leading up. Some people in your organization might even call you a suck up or worse. Even the person who is supposed to be leading you may be a bit leery about your motives but you’ll be doing the right thing. I can say with a high degree of certainty that doing the right thing will eventually pay off; it might take longer than you want but you can’t go wrong by doing right. 

 

The third option you have is to flee. Just leave, go find employment elsewhere. This is not as good an option as it may seem. While you left a problem behind you have no guarantee that you’re not just walking into another one. You also slow your own development by just leaving when the going gets a little tough. 

 

You may get lucky and join an organization that provides you with a true leader who works hard to develop and mentor you. If that’s the case then you’ve truly struck gold. The problem I have is with the luck part; I simply don’t like depending on luck for my success. 

 

I think most successful people would tell you that they made their success, they didn’t just luck into it. 

 

So I’ve written a bit here to leaders and the people who would follow them. I also want to say something to a third group. That would be the folks who put people who can’t lead into leadership positions. 

 

The truth is most organizations were able to “get away” with that for a long time. There used to be plenty of followers to go around and if an organization lost a few here and there they just plugged in some new people. 

 

Not anymore!

 

One of the key considerations an organization must make these days is who is leading who. If you have good young talent being led by a non-leader in a leadership position that good young talent will leave. That’s not a guess, that’s not a maybe, they will be gone, period. And they are getting harder to replace by the day. 

 

Whether you’re in Human Relations or another senior position within your organization, if you’re responsible for placing people into leadership positions then you better make sure you’re putting actual leaders into those positions. 

 

There is almost no bigger waste in business today than giving a bright, motivated potential superstar in your organization to a person in a leadership position who lacks the ability to help that bright, motivated individual achieve success.

 

There will always be some leaders who are better than others. You need to be certain that your best people are being led by your best leaders. That’s the reality of the business world in which we live today; no organization can afford to have their top people led by people who are not leaders.


You may want to consider dealing with it before it’s dealt with for you. 


DOA Leadership

There are many character flaws that can make an otherwise strong leader weak. There is one flaw however which will absolutely kill the opportunity to lead; it makes a person’s leadership potential Dead on Arrival upon being promoted to a leadership position. 

That flaw, and flaw is almost too small a word to fully describe this catastrophic mistake, but that flaw is believing that you can’t be wrong simple because you occupy a position of leadership.

Believing that somehow your position makes you always right, about everything, all the time, will quickly kill the morale of what could have been your team. You will never (I know that never is an incredibly strong word but never is the correct word in this instance) be able to earn the commitment of your people, you will have to settle for their compliance. If you even get that.

Believing that your position makes you right all the time crushes the creativity of your people. They will quickly learn to keep their ideas to themselves since you’ve “led” them to understand that they can’t be right. By the way, this further increases your delusion that your position always makes you right. 

Authentic Servant Leaders understand that they can be wrong about almost anything, at almost any time, just like any other human on the planet. Authentic Servant Leaders value thinking different than their own and they understand that if their people are always in full agreement with them then their people aren’t really thinking at all.

Authentic Servant Leaders know that their position doesn’t make them right about everything, all their position really does is give them the opportunity to have a positive influence on their organization and it’s people.  

Authentic Servant Leaders let the best idea win, whether it was their idea or not. 

If you’re a leader who believes for even a minute that your position somehow makes you smarter than the people you try to lead then you should know that you’re not only sometimes wrong, you’re likely often dead wrong. 

Leadership potential is a terrible thing to waste, don’t let your potential be DOA!