We don’t have to look far

A quick glance at developments around the world and we can see a wonderful opportunity for learning about how not to lead. I am sure today’s current examples are clear so I instead decided to focus on the steps how to avoid poor leadership.

Step one: Have no vision

Lead day by day with no clear desired state or end vision. Focus people on how to do things without explaining why. Make every day an emergency and soon people and customers will lose energy, creativity, and faith.

Step two: Have no plan

This step usually follows when there is no vision. As a result of no plan, then every decision becomes based on politics, personal interests, or just guesses. Worse, people working under no plan will go their own separate ways to optimize their own interests and thus sub-optimize everyone else around.

Step three: Place greed and personal self-interests above all other priorities

When the leader is not focused on his, her customers, which include the people in the organization as the first priority, the system starts to become stagnant and eventually fall apart. Decisions become hard to explain, logic is not evident, and direction is unclear. This occurs when a combination of greed and personal self-interests become the top priority for the leader.

Step four: Always seeking growth

In a capitalistic system, this is the mantra for the leader. It can also lead to organizational downfall. There are times in the lifespan of the organization where it is better to slow growth, stabilize, and increase the quality of the current products and services. We have reached a point in history where there are finite resources on this planet we call home and too much emphasis on growth for the sake of profit will eventually bring down the entire system.

Step five: Fail to compromise

The best way to reduce any conflict is to listen, discuss, and compromise. Failure to do this by a leader who is set on always winning will only cause havoc in the system including relationships. When there is competition vs. compromise, there ends up being only one winner and many losers. This causes long term damage to the system.

Step six: Ignore common sense

Leadership and solving challenges are not complex. When we make them complex it is usually a result of indecision, lack of creativity, low self-awareness, and confidence. The leader who does not use common sense will never accomplish the most important organizational goals.

Step seven: Lack of focus

The leader who jumps from one crisis to the next might enjoy the rush and excitement of battle. But will always lose the war. It is difficult to accomplish the most important priorities when everything becomes most important.

Step eight: Lose empathy for others

In positions of power the ego can take over and in the process, the leader fails to make the concerns of others important. When the leader loses the ability to have empathy for others either less fortunate or with difficult challenges, he or she has lost the most valuable aspect of leverage and leadership.

Step nine: Take everything too seriously

The leaders who fail to find humor or take every situation as a life or death event (or at least it seems that way) will only have followers who do just what they are told, no more no less. No risk taking, no courage, and no creativity will be evident in followers whose leader is too serious.

Step ten: Don’t believe in people

The leader who micro-manages, changes direction, can’t make a decision also tends to not believe in others as well. This will affect the performance of people, productivity within the system.

Avoid the path to crisis

Become a humanistic leader, placing people above profit, stability above constant growth, system health above personal self-interest. Then, everyone wins and thrives which includes the people and the planet we call home.

I’ll be cheering you on as you go!

Craig Nathanson

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