Anyone who is given the opportunity to lead in their organization … lead a department, division, the company or a project … has the overall responsibility to accomplish whatever the task associated with the job. Where some struggle is in determining how they can most effectively motivate their team members to achieve the goals. What we find in coaching various leaders is that whereas they are selected to fill the leadership role, it is often because of their overall skill and knowledge pertaining to the job’s focus. At the same time, it is too often, without providing that ‘leader’ any training as to how to carry out the job in the most positive, impacting manner. Too often, leaders have been left to their own sense of what being a leader means and requires of them. And this is where some experience very real problems.
Have you ever worked for one of these leadership types?
- The Dictator Leader – they communicate the directions in a way that leaves little room for another to ask for clarification to enhance her/his understanding. Just Do It!
- The Member of Royalty Leader – They use their position to remind all that THEY are in charge and they rarely, if ever, think of getting their hands dirty
- The Nurturing Parent Leader – especially the one who sees the job as giving the charge the answers to any question rather than helping them develop their own ability to devise solutions
- The Fun Leader – is very much focused on making the work ‘fun’ and it’s not uncommon to lose sight of the need and drive to achieve the task in shortest amount of time possible.
- The Magician Leader – now that this person has been put into the position of leader, they interpret this to mean they get to spend their time doing their favorite part of the project and magically disappear keeping
their head under the hood of the car and rarely to be found.
You must have known some of these. However, the way you view and execute your style of leading will determine just how effective you will be and that is key. Chris Meyers, the founder and CEO of BodeTree developed his own skill in leading by recalling the various leader types he had experienced … and used them to determine much of what he didn’t want to do. Being the leader of his organization allowed him to execute his role based on his following beliefs. They mirror the experiences in this situation encountered as a coach in many organizations.
- Leadership is a lot like parenting. When you’re a parent, you love your child so much that you want to give them anything they want. The temptation is that by reveling in the good times and spoiling them with gifts, they will somehow love you more.
- However, parenting isn’t about fun and games. It’s about molding your child into a person who can be an upstanding, respectable, and successful adult someday. That requires discipline, dedication, and difficult decisions. If you want what’s best for your child, you act as a parent first and a friend second.
- The same logic applies to managing a team. As a leader, it feels good when the team is relaxed, comfortable, and having fun. However, just as with parenting, leadership requires more. You can’t help people grow, mature, and perform without pushing them. If you don’t lay out expectations for the team, push people out of their comfort zones, and hold people accountable, you’re failing in your most important role as a leader. Trying to be everyone’s best friend is a fundamentally selfish act. It’s not about you and how well you’re liked. Leadership is about helping people become the best they can be. That means stepping up and doing what is hard, no matter what.
- The role of the CEO is a fundamentally lonely one. You have no peers and end up doing the team a disservice when to try to be everyone’s best friend. Leadership means putting others ahead of yourself, and the team ahead of everyone. That requires discipline, sacrifice, and courage.
- If you do the right thing for individuals and the team as a whole, you won’t always be liked. That simply goes with the territory, because employees need leaders, not friends.
It is this last point that represents a real obstacle for some who like the idea of advancement and yet, appear unwilling or unable to relinquish the idea of being friend to those they lead. Some are good with this whereas others realize that for them and their enjoyment of the job, being friend is more important. There is no wrong decision. Rather it’s a matter of what’s right for each individual. Wanting to climb the ladder of success is the goal of many. However, the climb carries with it certain requirements that determine our success … or lack thereof. It’s definitely something worth thinking about!