Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why Most Leadership Sucks and What You Can Do About It - Part I

Face it, leadership isn’t your strong suit. The sooner you recognize that you are in the Long Tail of leadership acumen, the sooner you accept your reality, the sooner you can do something about it.

If you don’t believe me, take a minute to think about your boss’s leadership acumen…

If you were honest and really thought your boss’s leadership ability, I’ll bet you came to the conclusion that leadership isn’t your boss’s strong suit. Did it take the full minute for you to come to that conclusion?

Still don’t believe me? Try this. Make a mental list of the top ten leaders you would love to work for, you are free to chose anyone in the whole world.

I’ll bet your boss didn’t make the list. The reality is you wouldn’t follow him/her anywhere if he/she wasn’t you boss. What makes you think you are any different?

Is it possible that your subordinates think the same about you? Is it likely that your peers think about you that way? Worse yet, does your boss and maybe even her boss think of you that way?

Take another minute and think about your subordinates…

When was the last time you thought about their leadership ability? When was the last time you worried about or worked on their professional development and advancement? When was the last time you were certain that you had developed their ability to such an extent that you had enough leadership ability under your span of control that you could disappear forever and things would keep on rolling without you?

Not forever? How about two weeks? When was the last time you felt that your people, your leaders, were so good that it was safe to take a two-week vacation fly fishing in the Alaskan outback with no Internet, no E-mail, no TV, no Cell Phone, no connection what so ever with the outside world?

Get the picture? This is how your boss views you and your peers or maybe I mean how they “don’t” view you. Either way, chance are, they’re not overly confident.

Then again, this could be a blessing in disguise; if your boss isn’t thinking about you than you don’t need to worry too much about being fired for being a poor leader.

PLEASE NOTE: If this is how you view the world, you’re reading the wrong Blog.

So, what is my point?

I have several. First, if the leadership in your organization sucks, chances are you are part of the problem so you can do something about it. Second, if you want half a chance of becoming a better leader, you must recognize that leadership is not and may never be your strong suit. Third, and finally, my hidden point, the things that you do so well, the work that got you recognized, the skills that enabled you to move into a leadership position are not going to contribute much to your success as a leader.

I’ll talk more about that last point in my next entry.

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