Follow The Leader

Leadership only exists if people follow when they have the freedom not to follow…

We all work for somebody. Some of us, lead teams. Think about the above statement for a second. What first comes to mind? For me, that statement tells a story. I know this story is going to be familiar to many of you. In my 28 years, I have had lots of people that I have worked for. Some good, some bad and some that I would follow anywhere. The really good ones make coming to work – exciting, challenging and fun. For the bad ones.. Those are the ones that make coming to work – difficult, dread coming in and just tough to get through the day. Would you, if you had the chance (and freedom) to follow that person to a new position? Probably not, that person just managed and did not lead. We all have had those manager types that if we could go to another group or team – we would (in a heartbeat). I think in the 28 years, I have run across a few (well, more than a few). Overall most companies are not seeing the growth or need for hiring – like 5+ years ago. Which in turn makes moving around has been difficult to say the least. I have seen and heard of companies that like to reorganize yearly, making a seasonal activity. These reorg’s thankfully offer some change. Those changes are supposed to have a positive impact on the teams. How many of those changes can you say, really brought forth a true leader to the top of your team? 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%? I bet the percentage is not very good.

What can be done? Well, I wish there was a magic lamp that I could use to change the situation, but there isn’t. The simplest way that I know to help with the change is providing feedback to your boss. If you are a team member and you are asked to provide feedback on your manager/leader – take full advantage to provide feedback (what should continue or change). We all want to hear what we do well and what we need to improve on. Sometimes that feedback is painful, but nothing changes without knowing. Can we assume that none of us really want to fail? Of course we don’t! Take the feedback and the personal desire to be good at managing/leading – and plot your course for getting better. As a manager/leader you should be always striving to learn. Learning should never stop…

The very last question is really for managers and leaders. Would your people today follow you if given the chance (or freedom)? Be honest.. Be critical of yourself.. I have lead teams for most of my 28 years; I asked myself that question a number of times and tried to insure that I was leading and not managing… I have had a number of folks, follow me into new positions – that is the testament and validation that I did some things right!

Enhanced by Zemanta