It’s true. This is not a hoax. There is no such thing as a bad leader.
Look at these magnificent quotes about leadership:
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
“A Leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Rosalyn Carter
“True Leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It’s not about exalting themselves but lifting others up.” Sheri L. Dew, Author, and CEO of the Deseret Book Company
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.” Ronald Reagan
“To be a leader is not to have a huge position. To be a leader is to see your job as a chance to inspire the world, no matter what your job is.” Robin Sharma
“Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people.” Simon Sinek
“If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.” Anonymous
I could keep going….and going…..
Leadership is about inspiring others. It’s not about position, it can’t be awarded or appointed, and you can’t buy it. You have to earn it.
And there are truly no bad leaders.
It’s kind of like being pregnant. You either are or you aren’t. There is no middle ground.
It’s like playing basketball. The ball either goes through the net or it doesn’t. There are no points for hitting the rim.
You are either a leader or you’re not. A ‘bad leader’ is not a leader. If you are bad at leading, you are not a leader.
Sure, there are better leaders. There are GREAT leaders. The scope of leadership can go from adequate to superb but it can’t be bad. It simply can’t be.
Darren is the owner of a small regional hotel chain. He prides himself on staying closely involved in the day to day operations at all 5 of his locations. He thinks he’s a leader. If there were such a thing as a bad leader, he’d be it. But he’s no leader. Far from it.
He rarely seeks out feedback from his employees, they dread his visits, he doesn’t inspire them to think for themselves or seek out growth opportunities, and he has made it very clear to each of them that making money is the most important aspect of their job.
The customer service ratings, as you can imagine, are not good at his hotels. His employees aren’t empowered to make decisions so customers have to wait on Darren to give them an answer. The budgets are tight and crafted to preserve the asset only – not please the customer or enhance services. And he’s not very understanding of the occasional sick day or family emergency that his employees deal with.
He thinks he’s a leader because he’s an owner. He thinks he’s a leader because he has employees. Darren thinks he’s a leader because he’s part of the hospitality trade association board of directors.
He’s not. He’s not a leader because there is no inspiration or service in his dealings with others. And leadership is all about inspiration and service.
Darren isn’t even a likable guy, and likability is another key component of leadership.
The employee turnover at Darren’s company is high. Surprised? Nope.
The housekeeping staff is like the waves of the ocean. They come and go almost daily.
The maintenance staff is sub-par because no self-respecting service technician will stay for long.
One of the longest term managers just recently left. She told me that she took a job at a smaller hotel for less salary. When I asked her what pushed her to do that, her response was this:
‘I want to work for someone I can be proud to follow. I didn’t want to follow Darren anywhere.’
Well, there you go. She didn’t want to follow him so he can’t be a leader. Darren is not a bad leader. He’s simply not a leader at all.
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Marissa is a shift leader at a large call center. She’s one of 20 shift leaders the company currently employs so while she has supervisory responsibilities, it could be said that she’s a small fish in a big pond.
She’s been with the company only about 15 months. She does a great job, is looked to for guidance from the other shift leaders, and the customer service reps talk practically non-stop about Marissa’s impact on the moral and culture of the organization.
Marissa, even though she’s not in a top-level position, is a true leader. She listens to the employees, seeks out feedback and input from others, provides ongoing feedback to her team (both positive and constructive), and she takes every opportunity available to let others have the spotlight.
I had the pleasure of attending the holiday luncheon at Marissa’s company and even though I knew she was a leader prior to that, her actions during that event solidified that.
Marissa was one of the last in line to eat. (Leaders eat last! – Simon Sinek.) After devouring a small plate of food, she started circling the room, refilling tea glasses, taking away plates, and chatting with the team members. She was serving them.
SHE was SERVING them.
And THAT’S what leadership is all about.
What do you think? Do you agree that you’re either a leader or not – there is no in between?