Are you or are you working for a leader or a ‘leader’?
One of the best qualities of human nature is our desire/ability to believe the best in people and/or that we can inspire change. Often this is true. Sometimes it is not. The trick is identifying the point in which you are investing too much time in a group or working for a ‘leader’ who has no desire to tread down the path you feel is leading to success.
I’m not indicating that you are smarter and know better regarding what is best for the group or place of employment, maybe you do , maybe you don’t. I am indicating that you know what is best for you.
If the leadership in whatever circle you may be in is toxic or turbulent it isn’t really leadership, it is a dictatorship. Not to say there shouldn’t be some type of change, there should. Change is necessary in our current business environment. Failure to change no longer leaves you just static, it leaves you behind. But change can either be productive or counterproductive. And only one of those two scenarios comes with leadership.
Not clear on what constitutes a failure of leadership? Here is a big red flag, orders are more prevalent than discussion or conversations. Without concern for communication, clearly concern for participation, fulfillment, smart production, etc. will not exist. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you want your people to produce and grow you need to meet them where they are, not where you wish they were, or where you want them to be. Not meeting someone where they are will immediately trigger their defensive mechanisms and make the process more difficult than necessary.
So there you go, meet people where they are and provide the path you’d like to see them on. This is good leadership. Just be aware that some have no intention of going down the path of professionalism, productivity and growth; subsequently, meet them where they are, but don’t stay too long.
While bringing people to the next level, those who are resistant may become a time drain. Worse yet you can one day realize you’ve lowered your overall expectations based on their positioning. My advice to you in such a situation is the obvious, don’t do that.
It is excellent when people speak and write brilliantly, and even not brilliantly about growth, betterment, self-awareness, self-improvement, etc. There is a value to reading and listening to their stuff. Ahh, the question becomes, “What are their actions?”
Hello rubber, meet the road. I will preface the following with the words ‘the line is always moving,’ but also with the thought, ‘so what you should be too.’ Ask yourself today, when is it enough? This is a judgement only you can make on your own life. It is yours after all so live it at whatever level you desire. My cautionary advice to you is this…
Are you living what you are speaking/writing? Would someone who doesn’t know you read your stuff, or listen to you, ask you to mentor them and then be…1) deeply grateful and gratified, or 2) horrified and/or deeply disappointed? Dear overachiever(s), this applies to you as well.
In coaching, just as in management, without connecting you have nothing. Well, nothing long-term that is. Can you motivate by fear? Yes. Can you motivate by pressure? Yes. Can you motivate through goal setting and plan implementation? Yes. Will the motivation turn into long-term behavioral changes? No.
Long term behavioral changes take an investment of time, enough to make a connection. People will work hard for you if they feel they have to, no doubt about it. So if that is your goal, go for it, no need to connect. However, if you are truly interested in contributing to the betterment of staff, peers, community, etc. it will take your time and consideration to do so. Templates are great but they cannot compete with the feel of connecting with another.
Leadership works best when you connect. Without connection your result will be production based only, not behavioral. Once that employee, peer, etc. leaves your company, chances are they will return to who they ‘really’ are and not who they felt they had to be for you.
Again, the choice is all about how broad of an impact you want to have.