It didn’t take long to figure out I didn’t want to follow this guy. From the outside he looked like the posterboy for leadership. He dressed well, he had built a solid business, he had a great family, and other people in the office respected him. But once I began to peel back the onion and see him interact with others when things weren’t going his way, I saw a person I didn’t want to follow.
It was proof to me that Peter Browning’s definition of leadership was pretty damn accurate:
“The capacity to elicit the willing collaboration of others over a sustainable period of time.”
Not only could this man not elicit my willing collaboration, he certainly couldn’t do it over a sustainable period of time. This got me thinking what types of people will never succeed in leadership?
The Non-Passionate Professional
They don’t love or hate their job. To them, it’s just work — show up and get paid. They tend to look at the world with a glass half empty approach or with a victim mentality. Rarely, if ever, do they look to help others, unless there’s something in it for them. In this week’s episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, leadership and change management expert Dr. Will Sparks said, “Great Leaders have connected to something larger than themselves and they do what needs to be done. They don’t go out looking for sympathy or to get kudos for working hard. Over time it pays off and what’s amazing is, once it starts to grow, it will it grow exponentially.” Clearly it’s critical to have passion and believe in something larger than yourself and this type of person just doesn’t understand that.
The “I Need It Now” Person
We live in an immediate gratification world and this person can never seem to turn it off. They need everything now. They are the type of person that goes on a diet and starts complaining 3 days in because they don’t “see” results. Research tells us people who are able to delay gratification get the bigger payoff in the long-term, and they typically sit in the corner office. It takes sacrifice in order to delay gratification and that leads to success. As Rick Riodan famously said, “True success requires sacrifice.”
The Money Loving Executive
There is nothing inherently wrong with money. It’s a necessity for everyone, but “The Money Loving Executive” is ruled by it. They check their net worth on a regular basis, they think about profit over people, and they measure their personal worth by how much they make. The problem is, enough is never enough. Someone will always have more money than them. They are continuously working for a short-term view that provides short-term ups and downs. Conversely, if you do what you love, help others and focus on the process the results will follow.
The One-Man-Band (or Woman)
We have all been around the person who thinks they are the only one who can do it the “right” way. They live by the motto “if you want things done right, do it yourself.” Unfortunately, this is the opposite of Peter Browning’s definition of leadership that I reference earlier because nothing worthwhile can be accomplished by one person. Of all the types, this is the hardest to change because their ego and selfish interests tend to be ingrained in their behavior. A great leader enjoys teaching others and puts trust in their team to do the job.
See yourself in any of these types? The great news is, you were self-aware enough to realize your behaviors, and you have the ability to change. Think of one of my favorite latin phrases, “Nunc Coepi” which means, “today I begin.”
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