You are a senior leader; you have never mentored anyone before. You think coaching is for Mourinho and football clubs. Sharing new information is alien to you. In your career spanning over ten years, you have never built anyone, literally.
Ralph Nader, the American author starts with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not followers. As a leader, you must target and mentor people to succeed you. You fear succession planning for the loss of power and hierarchy; you are convinced that by training subordinates they will immediately oust you.
When vacancies arise in your department, none of your people is ready or good enough to step up and take the role; you must recruit from external. You give the excuse of avoiding inbreeding and you read the gospel of cross-breeding. You believe that people from out will cross-fertilize your stunted non-performers and improve productivity.
You treat outsiders preferentially, sometimes discriminatively while forcing your existing low performers to train them. These external hires come with expensive expectations to the detriment of the company’s bottom line. They arrive fully motivated especially if they are joining a strongly recognized brand, but this is short lived.
As they continue to interact with your existing sucker breed, they are fed existing culture. Reverse fertilization happens and the newcomers get more de-motivated than your existing workforce. They start agitating to leave and you start treating them just like the rest, like crap.
Each time an employee raises his head and opens his mouth to offer a contra opinion, you beat them down to a pulp. You zip their mouths with your own big foul talking mouth. They soon get disorientated and leave. You have to call the external hiring company again, notwithstanding the negative impact, this has on your profit line.
At your desk, you are swamped more than your subordinates. You live on a jam-packed side of town, like Mombasa road. You come to work full headlights to beat the Mlolongo truck jam and leave office by the moonlight. You skip leave and vacations feigning work. You are stressed to the point of blatant manifestation. You bark at your staff like a pregnant German shepherd when they present creative issues to you. You have no work-life balance, yours is work and work balance. When your staff asks for work choices you retort that you also don’t have any and that work life is a theoretical concept by HR practitioners.
The only times you leave your desk is to attend meetings with your senior colleagues. You have no time for your juniors and the only time you call for meetings is when there is a crisis. Your direct reports rely on rumors and grapevine from other departments to know what’s going on in the company.
In each company, there are a few important meetings like the board meeting. Your staff will know it is in the air by both your body language and your shouting. You are stressed before, during and after these important meetings. During these times, you turn your whole department into a bunch of handymen and henchmen at your beck call. You shout at your senior managers and assign them mundane jobs like printing documents for you. You ask them to analyze nonimportant data that you either don’t understand or you are too tensed to pour your mind over. And the barking continues.
Networking is a forced event for you. It only happens when you join your colleagues in an event that the CEO declares a must attend at your level. You try all the tricks in the old book to skip, but your manager is firm, he insists you must attend.
At the function, you still want to huddle with your office colleagues, sometimes pulling them away from the very customers that you should be engaging. You want to feel at home; you want your comfort zone. Sometimes you are spotted alone, fiddling with your phone as clients feel lonely.
The last time you were involved in a community event was when your group director visited. You are busy and you need to attend to your family. What is community activity anyway; that should worry the CEO, not you; you need some space, please.
You lack self-confidence. You are always trying to prove that you are the boss by reminding people that indeed you are the boss. You even ask the tea girl to confirm what you are. Those who doubt, you refer them to HR for further confirmation. Trivial is your zone, reminding people the tiny stuff they should do or did many years ago.
Your strategic skills suck. You believe in the forty-eight laws of power. Strategy to you is talking big words from the book.
Good leadership results in an exponential growth of the company’s bottom line. It is, therefore, a critical component of the productivity and performance of an organization.
Bogus leaders abound. These are the leaders who not only ignore their people but have no clue how their personal styles affect the productivity of those around them. Choose to be a great leader by investing time and money in your leadership journey.
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