Two Leadership Traps: How To Get Out Of Them and How To Avoid Them (Part 1)
You've heard of the Peter Principle: "People are promoted to their level of ultimate incompetence". But what the Peter Principle doesn't tell you is the nature of the incompetence. For the most part, it's leadership incompetence.
A human resources director told me, "Brent, we hire people for their skills and knowledge, but we fire them or fail to promote them or promote them for their leadership abilities -- or lack thereof."
In other words, throughout their careers, people are promoted to take charge of bigger and bigger groups -- until they take over a group that's too big for their leadership abilities.
One main reason they come up short in abilities is they are constantly and unconsciously falling into two leadership traps.
I'll describe the traps, how to get out of them, and how not to get into them in the first place.
The traps can be particularly deadly because they are in many cases self-set -- and even self-triggered. What's worse: the vast majority of leaders who get into them don't have a clue they're caught. It's one thing to be in a trap and know you're in it: You try to get out. But it's a problem of another magnitude to be in a trap and not know you're in it. In that case, you'll stay there.
THE FIRST TRAP: "I need ..."
A marketing leader in a major global company was stumbling. His team was failing to achieve the targeted results. He told me, "The good news is they do what I tell them. The bad news is they do what I tell them -- ONLY what I tell them. Other than firing the worst of the bunch or transferring others out of the team, I can't figure out what to do. And if I don't do it soon, I'll be the one fired or transferred!"
I asked if I could sit in on a team meeting to scope out the situation. "Be my guest," he said. "But I don't see what good it'll do. The problem isn't in the meetings. Everybody agrees what needs to get done when they're in the meetings. The problem is the results after the meetings."
The meeting had been going only for only a couple of minutes when I saw what was wrong. Afterwards, alone in his office, I told him: "They're not the problem. YOU'RE the problem. You've fallen into two leadership traps."
He looked at me incredulously. "What traps?"
I explained that leaders often fall into traps that prevent them from getting the full measure of results they're capable of. And the deadliest traps are often the ones of their own making.
The first trap is the "I need . . . " trap.
Leaders fall into this trap when they say, "I need you to hit the marketing targets, I need you to get more productive, I need you to (fill in the blank)". I NEED ... I NEED ... I NEED ....
Why is this a trap? The answer: the Leader's Fallacy. The Leader's Fallacy is the mistaken belief by leaders that their own needs are automatically reciprocated by the needs of the people they lead. It's a fallacy because automatic reciprocity doesn't exist. But so many leaders go blithely along driven by the Fallacy and so fall into the "I need . . . " trap.
For instance, the marketing leader thought he was motivating people to get great results. However, during the meeting, he was constantly repeating, "I need ... ". So, in reality, he was ordering people to get average results. Of course, leaders don't order people to get average results. But average results are usually the outcome of order leadership.
The order is the lowest form of motivation. The order leader's focus of my-way-or-the-highway can't get great results from people on a consistent basis simply because people usually can't be ordered to undertake extraordinary endeavors. They must choose to do so. When he said, "The bad news is they ONLY do what I tell them.", he was unknowingly afflicting them. They were simply responding to an order then going into a kind of suspended animation (masked by busy work) until the next order came along.
In Part 2, I'll describe how to get out of this trap.
2005 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: email@example.com
The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. - and for more than 20 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at http://www.actionleadership.com
Leadership is best defined by the quality of your thoughts, decisions and actions. It is also underpinned by the quality of the tools you use in your role. Be seen to bring true leadership to your organization and act with the authority that it brings to you.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Leadership A Perspective From Tao
Tao Te Ching said to be written by Lao Tzu during the period of warring states in china around the second century B.C.
Cub Scout Leader Outdoor Experience
Recently I attended Cub Scout Leader Outdoor Experience training. This was a 24 hour course starting Friday evening.
The Six Essential Leadership Attributes
Leadership is the foundation for all organizations, whether corporate, nonprofit or government. Leadership is a high calling and responsibility, upon which all else the organization is or does rests.
"What is leadership?" When this question is asked most of the people answer "leadership is the capacity or an ability of a person to lead". Earlier theories of leadership viz.
The SAMMER Test: Leading People To Get The Right Results At the Right Time In The Right Way
As a leader, you do nothing more important than get results. But simply getting results can be easy.
Hidden Self Confidence
Peer independence is arguably the least understood aspect of self confidence. Many people who are shy, or suffer from social anxiety, tell me that they lack confidence.
Stepping Into Leadership and Being The Source Of Your Success
Why is it that we often wait until we have achieved a level of success in network marketing before we feel as though we have earned the right to step into a leadership role? Leadership is NOT a position you acquire as a result of having achieved a certain volume or compensation plan position. It is a place you come from as a declaration that guides your decisions and actions.
Introduction to the The Enneagram as a Leadership Tool
The Enneagram is a fascinating tool of nine orientations that enables us to gain insight into the depths of our true potential. It seeks to provide insight into how we fund our foundation of assumptions so they work for us or they don't! (In some ways it provides a generic Owner's Manual to Life! That little book we all hoped came with us to provide insightful directions on how to employ us and treat us with care.
What We Can Learn From J. Paul Getty
J. Paul Getty planned to enter the U.
Five Steps Towards Greater Self Confidence
We watch the star athlete calmly make the final shot, score the winning goal, or lead his team for a touchdown in the final minute of the game. We marvel at their talent and their determination, but what we value and admire most is the supreme confidence they display - they know they will succeed.
It's Not All About Cheese: The Missing Component in Employee Development (Part 1)
Spencer Johnson really hit a nerve when he wrote Who Moved My Cheese? The book, a best seller still, is a wonderful allegory of the things that drive and motivate us. I personally loved the book, perhaps because I read it in one night.
Leadership Like Water-Water Canoeing
Although world business is undergoing historic changes, the prevailing view of what constitutes business leadership is stuck in the past. Generally, business leaders view leadership as an order-giving process.
People don't leave jobs; they leave bosses. --AnonymousCongratulations.
On airplanes, in restaurants, in the newspaper and on television, I often hear people saying their businesses are not growing to their satisfaction or that they are not reaching their objectives.† The explanations that follow consist of reasons like: ?†It's the economy?†Our customers don't get it?†I don't have the right people on the team I could go on, and so could you.
Embracing Adversity for Achievement
"Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity." -- Lou HoltzSuccess in life depends upon being strong people with clear goals and indomitable spirits.
Leadership Styles and What We Need For the Future:
By definition a leaders leads a team to take action in favor of the vision.The most well know methods for assessing leadership styles, such as DISC, have outlived their usefulness!∑ Are leadership styles really captured in a neat questionnaire like DISC that measures Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness?∑ Can we predict the leaders from the profile that DISC generates?∑ Can we test great leaders and say people with the same profile will have similar success?It seems the answer is less obvious.
The Three Essential Attributes of a Leader: (Part 2) Bringing Others to the Vision
We need to engage our listeners and transform them into excited, willing and committed supporters of the vision - for the duration of delivery!Logic, our intellect, doesn't know how to do this. It knows how to present the facts.
Managing Monsters in Meetings - Part 2, Multiple Conversations
Side conversations ruin meetings by destroying focus and fragmenting participation.Approach 1: Ask for cooperationStart by asking everyone to cooperate.
Dont be Afraid to Lead!
In most aspects of human activity, the pendulum of fashion swings back and forth between extremes, passing briefly through the point of balance on every swing.For a while, we were told leadership was all about setting clear objectives and holding people accountable.
Leadership and Followership in a Team Setting
Many solopreneurs work in a team environment either with their client's staff, or with subcontractors. Having spent over 20 years in a teaming environment before becoming a solopreneur 13 years ago, I know that during the course of any highly functioning team effort, the leadership and followership roles flow back and forth between the members.
|© 2016 Definition Of Leadership & Career Consulting Limited