Ah, the life of a leader runs on worry. You’ve moved beyond worrying about your own job to focusing on seizing more power during this opportunity called a recession. You’ve been shedding workers at a record pace to keep the bean-counters happy with your expense ratios and now, you’re concerned about how you are going to step on and over your colleagues for that next promotion. You know, it’s the one that’s opening up because you’ve done everything possible to tank your manager’s image without getting caught. Now, the real worry is how your shrinking and disgruntled team can be driven harder to make you look good in time for year-end performance evaluations.
The burdens of leadership are heavy.
Just when you think you can’t take on one more concern, you’ve heard about two new illnesses from the Center for Leadership Disease Control here at Management Excellence.
A few weeks ago, you were shocked to learn of the longstanding but freshly named malady, Tired Leader Syndrome. After listening to the symptoms, you’re convinced that you’ve got a bad case and you are desperately seeking a miracle cure. Something that involves no effort and that will quickly make this draining disease disappear. You’ve put a team on it and have people working around the clock to save your hide, but scientists and researchers hold out little help for chronic sufferers other than your complete and long-term isolation from anything that resembles a leadership role.
You remain hopeful that your minions can save you.
Adding fuel to the fire was the recent announcement here at the Center for Leadership Disease and Control at Management Excellence, that researchers have finally isolated the causes of a long-standing leadership wasting disease. This heretofore unnamed but common set of symptoms is now called Two-Dimensional Leadership Disease or TDLD for short.
How Do You Know if You Suffer from Two-Dimensional Leadership Disease?
You could ask the people that work for you, but one of the first symptoms is that no one is comfortable sharing honest feedback about your performance with you. Too many messengers have been shot and too many impassioned pleas for you to start leading have gone unanswered. One suggestion might be to eavesdrop or plant one of your minions into the populace to spy. You smile thinking about how brilliant you are to come up with ideas like that.
Another approach to self-diagnosing this odious wasting disease is to attempt to rally your team into one location and force them to physically raise their eyes from the ground or the table and look at you.
It won’t be easy to get compliance, but you can use a long-winded speech that emphasizes the glory of serving you in the name of the greater good of the firm. You’ll probably draw upon an old favorite…berating someone weaker than you in public just to show that you’re in charge. Certainly, this will make people look up to watch in wonderment as you masterfully use your power and position to reduce a former human being to a puddle of sweat.
Finally, try making a few pleas to work harder, not smarter and then implore the team to look you in the eyes to see your fire and passion and to help them know that you are serious.
Once you’ve finally gained their attention, you should face forward, quickly turn around with your back to the group (a comfortable pose for you, since you’re usually blocking out the credit for success that goes to the team), and then slowly, very slowly turn sideways until you are standing at a 90 degree angle to the people in the room.
If you hear gasps of “Where did he go?” and “How did he do that?” and “Hey, he’s finally vaporized himself, good riddance,” then you know you’ve got Two Dimensional Leader Disease.
How do you know? You turned sideways and disappeared. As a leader, you have no depth!
Add depth by remembering that you are there to serve, that it is never about you and that your success is directly related to how hard you work to support and promote and advance those around you.
This horrible leader wasting illness, Two Dimensional Leader Disease, is only curable by figuring out what leadership is all about and then step-by-step, starting to act like one and by leaving the self-centered, narcissistic buffoonery of your leadership past behind. It’s difficult, but not impossible. For best results, seek professional help.