What if the “top dog” has no leadership skills?
True or False: All leadership positions are occupied by leaders?
Genuine leadership has very little to do with status, position, title, or income. It is larger than any of those. Leadership can be cultivated. It can be discovered within an employee, and it can be acquired. Leadership can move a company. It can also be missing entirely.
In order to better understand how to identify significant leadership, we must first understand a common and problematic practice relative to management. Leadership candidates are frequently placed into leadership roles based on prior performances that may not necessarily be associated with their ability to lead.
Consider top producing salespeople. They are often promoted to management positions solely because they consistently exceed sales projections. The premise being that because one is strong at selling, one should be promoted to manager and in turn transform everyone on the sales team into top performers. But what if the “top dog” has no leadership skills? This assumptive practice then becomes risky business. Have you experienced a rise and fall in leadership? Let’s briefly explore a familiar cause.
The ability to outsell everyone in the company may or may not actually translate into the ability to lead others to do likewise.
Those who promote employees based only on numbers can readily discover that the added pressures of the newly heightened management responsibilities combined with discrepancies in actual leadership skill can inflict discouragement upon the ill equipped new leader. Loss of normal productivity is often associated and a detrimental cycle begins.
Discouragement plays a role in the fall of a non-leader. It often ingrains a feeling of failure, inadequacy, or even regret. One who was promoted to a leadership role based only on sales numbers often experiences turmoil that is unfamiliar to them. Blame is attributed to a poor sales team. Rumors of a need to hire better sales people begin to form and employees are demoralized. A whirlpool begins to surge.
As sales drop and confusion and frustrations build, the new would-be-leader tries harder, pushes more, and demands a sales stratagem be regimented. “Do exactly as I say and you can all sell as good as me” echoes down the sales floor. Subsequently, other sales personnel falter. Demands heighten, pay is threatened. Morale drops. Punishments are ordered. Attrition rises. Morale weakens further. Have you experienced this cycle?
Consider the fallout. If the lack luster manager were to be demoted or returned to his or her original station, the individual may never recover or may never regain the original level of sales performance.
This unproductive cycle is especially common in competitive corporations inherently devoid of leadership training opportunities or where job placement is based upon one’s tenure or one’s blood relations to existing leadership rather than upon the best practices of talent management.
True leaders are cultivated. They are found all around. They are not obscure, just unrecognized. You find them “under rocks and logs.” Leaders are not hiding, just getting things done.
Here is a golden key to finding a significant leader.
Significant leaders largely impact the bottom line but do so indirectly. Distinguish the difference; significant leaders impact those who impact the bottom line. Therein is the key. Find a leader who empowers others. Discover leadership in those who give accolades rather than seek them. Identify leaders by the movement they quietly and amiably generate in the lives of their associates.
As you define true leadership, you will find that you more easily recognize it. Those who boast their individual strength and their individual accomplishments seek power rather than leadership. Find your game-changer in the trenches building and lifting others, working on solutions, and honorably remaining brave. Promote a significant leader and watch what happens.
Leadership centers on the following triad:
- Leaders have the ability to foster in others the belief that they can accomplish the extraordinary.
- Characteristics associated with leadership can be learned and mastered.
- Leadership is the antecedent to lasting success.
You can spot a leader. Here are a few targeting tips.
- Leaders characteristically establish a reputation as being approachable and authentic. One who possesses the ability to effectively lead must first conquer self; not to the point of perfection, rather to the point of compassion.
- Leadership is not so much about the plaque on the door as it is the door being open. Generating loyalty among their counterparts, leaders receive company feedback as informational rather than abrasive.
- Leaders promote safe interchange, increased harmony in the workplace, heightened productivity, and yearning for creativity.
- Leaders tend to give recognition rather than seek it.
- Leaders smile often. They see the glass full and rising! They seem to know how to motivate others to accomplish any worthy ideal.
When provided true leadership, employees gain confidence in themselves and their fellow workers. They believe that they can accomplish the extraordinary. And typically they do.
Keys to promoting leadership
- Establish competitive job opportunities and promote from within your company. Leaders must clearly see the way to advanced opportunity.
- Nothing stifles creativity like someone taking credit for something someone else did. Foster those who give recognition for a job well done to those who actually got their hands dirty.
- Promote those who get results through serving their team members.
- Hold leaders accountable for people results and the number results will follow.
- Imagine your leadership positions filled with leaders. What impact would that have on your company?
Happy hunting. Construct one on one goal setting sessions with your leaders. Let the leader set the goals.
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