Prior to October 1989, I thought that I was rocking along pretty well, leading my successful business. I had even served in leadership roles at several non-profit organizations. I didn't know it at the time, but I was missing one crucial component for effective leadership!
There’s one thing I learned for sure when serving in non-profits:
Volunteers will test your leadership skills to the maximum. –Bobby Albert
Why? Because volunteers don’t have to be there. They can jump ship anytime they wish. And when they drop the ball (and many do), you can’t throw a temper tantrum (oh, maybe in private).
I’ve got this thing down
I thought I had this leadership thing down. As I drove for results (what I said and did), I was maintaining and enhancing relationships (how I said and did).
Drive for results –
- I had gotten better and better at the skills required to manage things for results
- I had surrounded myself with some very good managers who were even better than I was at managing things for results
Enhance relationships –
- Since this was my bent, it was easy for me to maintain and enhance relationships by being respectful and thoughtful of people
- I had many of the attitudes of a servant leader
What is your motive?
However in October 1989, I learned that I had one missing aspect to my leadership that flat-out “floored” me (that’s what we say in West Texas).
I learned that I was attracting and developing FOLLOWERS rather than LEADERS.
John C. Maxwell has stated, “90% of all leaders lead followers.” I was a part of the 90%.
You see, my true motive was to…
- Hold on to the power instead of sharing the power
- Take recognition for our success instead of sharing the recognition by reproducing myself in others
- Spend time with people instead of invest time in them
- Focus on correcting people’s weaknesses instead of focusing on people’s strengths
One missing component
Every leader can experience extraordinary results by incorporating one key component into their leadership.
The one component I was missing… was NOT allowing our employees to get involved or participate in the decision-making process.
Although I had good intentions and thought I was helping our people, I kept the decision-making process for me to do.
This way of thinking may have been left over from the early days, when we were a much smaller family business and I did just about everything.
Or perhaps it was my pride that made me think that I was the only one who had the ability to go through the decision-making process.
Or maybe it was a combination of both.
Enhancing relationships has two components:
- How you say things
- How you do things
It was the doing that I failed at.
Once I began to encourage our people to be actively involved in the decision-making process, I was able to build a peak-performance TEAM that achieved extraordinary results.
Do you lead followers or leaders? Your answer will determine the potential of your leadership!
In my next blog post, I’ll share an actual example of how a participative-oriented leader achieved positive outcomes and results by tapping this important principle.
Are you leading followers or are you developing leaders around you? What is your motive? Do you have a missing crucial leadership component? Let me hear your comments by clicking <here>.