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TO LEAD?
Are You Fit
12 Signs You‘re Not Up For The Challenge.
We have all seen or worked with people
unfit to lead.
Many times these folks are well intentioned -ambitious people who do their level best;
unfortunately for the rest of us, they can leave a trail of chaos and dysfunction – the
products of poor leadership and unintended consequences.
Before you seek a leadership role, consider what is motivating you. Management- like
leadership - is difficult and complex. Your motives need to be aligned with strong leadership
principals. Seeking leadership based solely hubris or a desire for social advancement and
monetary gain is self - deceptive or self-deception: regardless of the size and scope of your
organization , this mistake can have far reaching and significant effects. Here is a test for
aspiring leaders: if these points describe you you’re not a leader!
Sign 1
YOU ARE RISK AVERSE
Someone told me our ability to succeed is congruent to our ability to fail. To be
sure, there are great successes and great failures.
As Theodore Roosevelt stated in 1910 –“ ….his place shall never be with those cold
and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” More often than not, we
overestimate the probability of something going wrong. Similarly, we exaggerate
the consequences of what might happen if and when it does happen. In too many
workplaces, our greatest challenge is that we deny or discount the cost of inaction
and continue on with the status quo. This leads to an organization feeling
restricted and people feeling stuck in unsatisfying careers.
The great American poet Henry David Thoreau described this condition best when
he wrote “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the
song still in them.” Poor leaders look at risk mitigation first – but we know
perfection is the enemy of good. Follow Cardinal Newman’s advice regarding
perfect plans: "A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well
that no one would find fault with what he has done."
Sign 2
YOU DON’T EMPATHIZE
WITH OTHERS
Empathy is the ability to identify and understand another
person’s feelings or situation. Leaders need to understand the
needs of the people following them in order to be effective.
Empathy is not the same as sympathy. Empathy is the ability
to appreciate someone else’s perspective.
This is a critical trait because when you truly understand the
needs of your staff, you can provide the support they need to
succeed – ultimately leading to greater productivity ,
collaboration and success.
Sign 3
YOU DON’T GET RESULTS
Real leaders perform – they meet their
objectives – they consistently exceed
expectations.
Sub optimal results equal no leadership –
it’s just that simple.
Sign 4
YOU GET RESULTS
THE WRONG WAY
If the only way you can solve the
challenge is through unethical behavior,
Machiavelli was talking about you in his
political satire The Prince when describing
the cynicism of the autocrat or one –
man- rule leading them to believe “the
ends justify the means”. If you abuse your
position of authority, fail to treat people
with respect, or confuse manipulation with
leadership, you will win nothing more than
a Pyrrhic victory.
Optics over ethics is illusory and short
term – malleable fools and sycophants will
be your only fans in the long run.
Sign 5
YOU DON’T CARE
Indifference is a characteristic not well
suited to leadership. You simply cannot be
a leader if you don’t care about those you
lead and the vision your following.
The real test of any leader is whether or
not those you lead are better off for being
led by you.
Sign 6
YOU’RE SEDUCED BY A TITLE OR POSITION
AND NOT A HIGHER PURPOSE
If you value self-interest above service you have
misunderstood the concept of leadership. A look into the
etymology of the word “leadership” proves instructive; the
term originates in the ancient root “Leith” which means to go
forth and die – usually in battle.
Leadership is about caring about something beyond oneself,
and leading others to a better place – even if it means
subordinating your self-interest in the process.
Power often comes as a derivative of leadership, but it’s not
the source or summit of true leadership.
Sign 7
IT’S EASIER TO MAKE PROMISES
THAN KEEP THEM
Leadership isn’t about a narrative; it’s about
one’s actions. Leadership might begin with
articulating a vision or objective; however, the
leader must lead out of one suboptimal state
to a more perfect state. To some degree this
can be measured in terms of freedom. In
other words, the true leader must make
people to one extent or another more free.
Sign 8
YOU MARGINALIZE PEOPLE
Don’t think for a minute explaining why
subordinates can’t do one thing or another is
leading. Leader’s demonstrate how things can be
done. Leaders teach people how to reach places
they previously believed were beyond themselves.
As Robert Browning observed, “a
man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a
heaven for?”
Sign 9
YOU ARE A RULE FOLLOWER INSTEAD
OF A BREAKER OF MOLDS
Status quo is the great enemy of leadership.
Leadership is nothing if not understanding the need
for change, and then possessing the ability to deliver
on it.
Sign 10
YOU CHURN TALENT INSTEAD
OF RETAIN IT
Real leadership serves as a talent magnet and career
accelerator – not a talent repellent or career mitigator. If you
can’t acquire talent, can’t develop talent, or can’t retain talent
you are not a leader.
Will your direct reports be going on to bigger and better
things under your mentorship? Or will you be managing down
and keeping people under your hyper- critical eye?
Sign 11
YOU TAKE CREDIT INSTEAD
OF GIVING IT
Leaders don’t seek all the attention. The
great leaders lift others up-help them shine
and that is their victory.
“There are 2 types of people: those who lift
you up and those who pull you down.”
~ Lou Holtz
Sign 12
YOU ARE AN AUTOCRAT
Autocrats, like all misguided utopians, think
they know better than everyone else in the
room. If you’re the head of cardiac surgery at
University Health Network or a physicist at
McGill University, maybe you always are the
smartest person in the room. But most of us
are closer to the mean. Ask questions, be
collaborative and be humble.
"Only those who risk going too far can
possibly find out how far they can go."
~ T. S. Elliot
NEED TRAINING?
St. Lawrence College Corporate
Learning & Performance Improvement
works with over 350 organizations and
thousands of students focused on
programs and skills that address the
demands of the new economy
To book a spot in our Leadership
programs visit us at our website:
www.slccorporatelearning.ca

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Are You Fit to Lead? 12 Signs You're Not Up For The Challenge

  • 1. TO LEAD? Are You Fit 12 Signs You‘re Not Up For The Challenge.
  • 2. We have all seen or worked with people unfit to lead. Many times these folks are well intentioned -ambitious people who do their level best; unfortunately for the rest of us, they can leave a trail of chaos and dysfunction – the products of poor leadership and unintended consequences. Before you seek a leadership role, consider what is motivating you. Management- like leadership - is difficult and complex. Your motives need to be aligned with strong leadership principals. Seeking leadership based solely hubris or a desire for social advancement and monetary gain is self - deceptive or self-deception: regardless of the size and scope of your organization , this mistake can have far reaching and significant effects. Here is a test for aspiring leaders: if these points describe you you’re not a leader!
  • 3. Sign 1 YOU ARE RISK AVERSE
  • 4. Someone told me our ability to succeed is congruent to our ability to fail. To be sure, there are great successes and great failures. As Theodore Roosevelt stated in 1910 –“ ….his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” More often than not, we overestimate the probability of something going wrong. Similarly, we exaggerate the consequences of what might happen if and when it does happen. In too many workplaces, our greatest challenge is that we deny or discount the cost of inaction and continue on with the status quo. This leads to an organization feeling restricted and people feeling stuck in unsatisfying careers. The great American poet Henry David Thoreau described this condition best when he wrote “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Poor leaders look at risk mitigation first – but we know perfection is the enemy of good. Follow Cardinal Newman’s advice regarding perfect plans: "A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find fault with what he has done."
  • 5. Sign 2 YOU DON’T EMPATHIZE WITH OTHERS
  • 6. Empathy is the ability to identify and understand another person’s feelings or situation. Leaders need to understand the needs of the people following them in order to be effective. Empathy is not the same as sympathy. Empathy is the ability to appreciate someone else’s perspective. This is a critical trait because when you truly understand the needs of your staff, you can provide the support they need to succeed – ultimately leading to greater productivity , collaboration and success.
  • 7. Sign 3 YOU DON’T GET RESULTS
  • 8. Real leaders perform – they meet their objectives – they consistently exceed expectations. Sub optimal results equal no leadership – it’s just that simple.
  • 9. Sign 4 YOU GET RESULTS THE WRONG WAY
  • 10. If the only way you can solve the challenge is through unethical behavior, Machiavelli was talking about you in his political satire The Prince when describing the cynicism of the autocrat or one – man- rule leading them to believe “the ends justify the means”. If you abuse your position of authority, fail to treat people with respect, or confuse manipulation with leadership, you will win nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory. Optics over ethics is illusory and short term – malleable fools and sycophants will be your only fans in the long run.
  • 12. Indifference is a characteristic not well suited to leadership. You simply cannot be a leader if you don’t care about those you lead and the vision your following. The real test of any leader is whether or not those you lead are better off for being led by you.
  • 13. Sign 6 YOU’RE SEDUCED BY A TITLE OR POSITION AND NOT A HIGHER PURPOSE
  • 14. If you value self-interest above service you have misunderstood the concept of leadership. A look into the etymology of the word “leadership” proves instructive; the term originates in the ancient root “Leith” which means to go forth and die – usually in battle. Leadership is about caring about something beyond oneself, and leading others to a better place – even if it means subordinating your self-interest in the process. Power often comes as a derivative of leadership, but it’s not the source or summit of true leadership.
  • 15. Sign 7 IT’S EASIER TO MAKE PROMISES THAN KEEP THEM
  • 16. Leadership isn’t about a narrative; it’s about one’s actions. Leadership might begin with articulating a vision or objective; however, the leader must lead out of one suboptimal state to a more perfect state. To some degree this can be measured in terms of freedom. In other words, the true leader must make people to one extent or another more free.
  • 18. Don’t think for a minute explaining why subordinates can’t do one thing or another is leading. Leader’s demonstrate how things can be done. Leaders teach people how to reach places they previously believed were beyond themselves. As Robert Browning observed, “a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”
  • 19. Sign 9 YOU ARE A RULE FOLLOWER INSTEAD OF A BREAKER OF MOLDS
  • 20. Status quo is the great enemy of leadership. Leadership is nothing if not understanding the need for change, and then possessing the ability to deliver on it.
  • 21. Sign 10 YOU CHURN TALENT INSTEAD OF RETAIN IT
  • 22. Real leadership serves as a talent magnet and career accelerator – not a talent repellent or career mitigator. If you can’t acquire talent, can’t develop talent, or can’t retain talent you are not a leader. Will your direct reports be going on to bigger and better things under your mentorship? Or will you be managing down and keeping people under your hyper- critical eye?
  • 23. Sign 11 YOU TAKE CREDIT INSTEAD OF GIVING IT
  • 24. Leaders don’t seek all the attention. The great leaders lift others up-help them shine and that is their victory. “There are 2 types of people: those who lift you up and those who pull you down.” ~ Lou Holtz
  • 25. Sign 12 YOU ARE AN AUTOCRAT
  • 26. Autocrats, like all misguided utopians, think they know better than everyone else in the room. If you’re the head of cardiac surgery at University Health Network or a physicist at McGill University, maybe you always are the smartest person in the room. But most of us are closer to the mean. Ask questions, be collaborative and be humble.
  • 27. "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." ~ T. S. Elliot
  • 28. NEED TRAINING? St. Lawrence College Corporate Learning & Performance Improvement works with over 350 organizations and thousands of students focused on programs and skills that address the demands of the new economy To book a spot in our Leadership programs visit us at our website: www.slccorporatelearning.ca