I cannot count the number of people I have worked with (myself included) who thought they wanted to be the leader. They wanted to be respected as a leader, they want to have the perks they see many leaders with, and they want to be “The Boss”.
And yet when push comes to shove are they really the leader? It reminds me of how I mistakenly got into sales and failed horribly until I figured what was needed. I wanted the freedom, I wanted to come and go, I wanted the expense account and I got them all…only I did not get a dose of discipline to go with it and I failed.
Fortunately in my next job my leader Bob, modeled the discipline required to succeed in sales. I think it is much the same as we promote people in our organizations. They are good at what they do they say they want it but when they enter the leadership ranks they continue to produce and they don’t step back to lead.
I was struck last week by a phrase from Dan Rockwell (The Leadership Freak) it read, “Stop using others as excuses. You are smaller than the people you hide behind.” I have seen a number of managers and people that say they want the leadership role but when push comes to shove they point to what others did to bring about the unpleasant situation. They don’t often acknowledge their own role.
This is not to say others do not influence our outcomes or that we have control over everything; we don’t. What we do have control over is the place we respond from. If you study leaders (at least the ones I tend to look up to) you won’t find a one of them that blames others. They accept the outcome, they debrief the outcome, they accept their role in it and then they move on.
I can always spot the leader. They are taking care of the team first. Or, in the words of Simon Sinek, “Leaders Eat Last”.