Top Ten Reasons Managers Won’t Lead From a Position of Responsibility

The following post first appeared in 2008.  It's worth a look again.

 

FIRST, HERE'S TO ALL THE MANAGERS WHO LEAD FROM RESPONSIBILITY AND THOSE WHO WANT TO LEARN THE ART.  THESE PEOPLE PROVIDE HOPE.

Now for problem in need of fixing.  In my post on What Management Doesn't Get: Leadership Implies Responsibility I made the argument that managers have a gaping hole relating to leading.

Here is a good list (a starting point) of why managers won't lead from a position of responsibility:

  1. It's easier to command and throw your weight around.
  2. Too many organizations teach (by their actions) that people are a means-to-an-end.
  3. Most managers, if honest, would have to admit they're soft.  When I was escorted out of corporate America for the last time, I discovered this first-hand.
  4. Managers, and those who promote them, don't teach and guide.  Therefore, many managers go by instinct.  It is not instinctual to take responsibility.  If it were, I'd be writing about something else.
  5. Fear and greed.
  6. The tools for education focus too much attention on skills and the attainment of position.  Without a strong emphasis on character, responsibility will not be a priority.
  7. Managers have bought the lie that everything begins with them.
  8. It's hard to lead from responsibility.  It requires a creativity of the highest order.
  9. Deep down many managers have given up.
  10. Too many organizations have become instant everything.  No time for anything except for what's immediately in front.

When Leaders Decide To Turn Around

When a leader decides to repent (I know that term conjures images of a fire and brimstone preacher, but it simply means "to turn around") it's a great thing.  It signifies an awakening and a desire to change.  I applaud leaders in, and out, of the corporate world who are courageous enough to make this type of move.

Now for the painful dangerous part.

As much as I would love to tell you that all of the followers will applaud when a leader turns around, I can't.  There will be opposition and resistance to the leaders new-found awakening.  The why question is multi-layered, but one big answer can be found in the history of the leaders direction and actions.  For example, if the leader has for years only praised you when senior management was around, then it's a sign of career posing.  It takes time (a lot of it) for people to accept and believe in the change from counter-genuine to authentic.  

The dangerous part is found in the leader who gives into the temptation of giving up because of skepticism on the part of their followers.  Our culture likes results fast.  But the leader should not expect speed here.  If the leader can set the expectations appropriately, then the chance of perseverance grows markedly.  The take-away here is, don't give up if you believe in the "turn around."

Make the decision to turn around…you won't regret it.

The Security Of Dreams

Had someone tell me last week that your target=”_blank”>authentic swing is found in the "letting it flow" zone.  Don't know why that analogy struck like it did, but Neal's got a good grasp on things.

Today I'm talking with a business partner and friend about the courage it takes to pursue dreams, and the courage to hold onto them when the head-winds come.  This is hard work.

What I find ironic and tragic about where we're at-America specifically-is most people view dreams as some outrageous risk.  In other words, something that only fools and gamblers engage in.

What if our dreams are directions to living out what was poured into us?  What if the Matrix is just trying to get us off course, so we will wake up to a life of regret?

There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest security and safety is found in our dreams-the authentic variety. 

Do you believe this?  If it is, what are you doing about it?