I read a great piece this week on The Black Swan Group’s blog, The Negotiation Edge. In an article titled, How Leadership Failure Can Look Different Than You Might Think, Derek Gaunt concludes:
Great leaders are driven by Tactical Empathy. They understand exactly where their employees are coming from and they are governed by that perspective. At the same time, they understand that they can’t do everything on their own. They know that being a leader is different than being an employee – and they act accordingly.
All too often, leaders fail because they let their ego and their authority guide their thinking when empathy and delegation should be the real drivers.Derek Gaunt, The Black Swan Group, September 23, 2019
Derek explains what he calls The Leadership Paradox:
- Many executives don’t differentiate between what they do as leaders and what they did in their previous role.
- They may have been promoted because they were great at micromanaging, but now they’re expected to work through other people.
- Facing a new challenge, they become uncomfortable – to the point where they perform their subordinates’s tasks for them.
- The problem with this is that it tends to breed contempt on the part of direct reports. Employees begin thinking, “Well, if everything I do is going to be second-guessed by my manager, what’s the point of doing anything?“
- Employees will either leave or, worse yet, disengage, stick around and hurt the moral of their colleagues.
Derek points out revenge is a powerful motivator. Don’t be mean to someone who can hurt you by doing nothing. Being mean includes not treating employees with respect and not letting them do the job you hired them to do.
This really resonated with me. I used to be that way, and there still may some be parts of me that has trouble letting go, but I’m working to become the leader Derek describes. My happiness and the happiness of my colleagues depend on it.
It gave me pause to think about what happiness really means.
I define happiness as the progressive realization of a worth ideal. It’s the feeling of knowing where you’re going, being liberated from legalism, graciously living life and getting to know God a little better each day.
- Happy people never stop discovering, never stop stretching, never stop learning, never stop growing.
- Happiness and humility are related because humble people are coachable.
- Happy people give themselves regular checkups to ensure they don’t drift from who they want to be. They test themselves regularly and if they fail the test, they do something about it. They respond well to correction.
People in leadership must realize everything starts and stops with them. They must possess a sense of extreme ownership because they control their happiness as well as the happiness of their teams.