Friday, May 04, 2018

Leaders: It's Not About You!

Amy Modglin wrote a terrific column for Forbes titled, "Leadership: It's Not About You." She explains that shifting the focus to your people enables an organization to achieve much greater success.   Modglin argues:

View your people as your biggest success. A good leader supports those around them. Your focus should be on developing them, helping them succeed, and watching them grow into the people they want to become. When your people are successful, it is a reflection on you as a leader... Acknowledge and appreciate people. Everyone wants to be valued. It is critical as a leader to give your people credit and recognition for the incredible things they do. One of the reasons people leave a job is because they feel underappreciated. A leader should never take the credit for the work that their people do. A good leader is a generous leader who recognizes people.

Now you might conclude (rightfully) that this philosophy is rather obvious.  Of course, it's not about you as a leader.  Of course, you should appreciate and recognize your people's contributions.  Yet, so many leaders do not do so effectively.   Why?

1.  The longer you stay in a job with considerable success, the more you become convinced as a leader that you are the reason for a great deal of those results.  

2.  Outsiders often attribute FAR too much of an organization's success to the leader at the top.   Leaders begin to believe their own press clippings.  

3.  Fundamental attribution error:  We blame others' failures on their internal weaknesses, but explain away our own failures as a result of uncontrollable outside forces. 

4.  The Board often exacerbates the problem by reinforcing the notion that the leader is "indispensable" to the organization.