In a recent video, I talked about the difference between leadership and management. In it, I stated that managers control and oversee what happens in time and space. Leaders, on the other hand, disrupt what occurs in time and space. While that approach may sound simple, many leaders unknowinglyfunction as managers. And their inability to lead can stifle the growth of an organization.
Perhaps the debate as to whether leaders are born or created is a somewhat worthy discussion. There is research to support that many leaders developed their skills at a young age. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, he talks about how dyslexia, which could be perceived as a disadvantage, forced people like Richard Branson to develop leadership skills in elementary school. He also discussed how people who lost a parent at a young age, 20 or younger, began to develop leadership skills.
Those circumstances do not imply being born a leader. They do, however, accentuate the point that leadership can be developed at a young age. Those who are not put in circumstances that force them to be leaders have to figure it out on the basis of what they perceive leadership to be. In some cases, that can be troubling.
Many people have a preconceived notion about what it takes to be a leader. The media promotes terms like tough, intimidating, savvy and ruthless. Some of what is promoted in mainstream about leadership is often the opposite of what it takes to be a great leader.
In a short list, here are the top 10 ways to ruin your chances of being an extraordinary leader. Some are obvious. Others are counterintuitive.
- Be a great problem solver for your team or company
- Hinders your people’s ability to problem solve
- They will run to you to solve large and small problems
- Tell your people what to do
- Hinders your people’s ability to think for themselves
- Reduces their ability to make tough decisions
- Creates a “yes man” culture
- Your people MAY resent you because they believe you do not trust them
- Never ask questions
- Stifles innovation
- Punish people for failing
- People will not explore new possibilities
- People will stop thinking about innovative products or processes
- Focus on the short term
- Could encourage unethical behavior
- Could miss long term opportunities
- Never develop yourself – new skills and competencies
- Bigger companies can create new larger opportunities. Without new skills, opportunities could be squandered.
- Company will out grow you
- Makes it difficult to hire top talent
- Never develop your people
- Your people will become overwhelmed
- Never ever hire people smarter than you
- Success rests on the shoulders of top leaders
- Success and growth is limited to the intelligence and experience of the top leader
- Only focus on constant improvement, instead of breakthroughs
- Incremental improvement retains status quo
- Lose competitive edge
- Lower margins
- The most powerful and effective leaders hire the smartest people with the best experience
- The leader who is the smartest in the room can hinder growth of top talent
- People could feel invalidated and resentful, which creates low productivity
- Top talent will leave
If you are a leader and you practice one or more of the above, you may be sabotaging your leadership efforts. If you are that leader, now could be an excellent time to hire an executive coach to undo or unlearn habits that can stifle your personal and professional growth as well as the growth of the organization.
What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, connect through my blog www.turnaroundip.blogspot.com.