Leaders Who Don’t Lead
Having a title, position, or authority doesn’t make someone a leader.
Leaders who fail to offer a strategic vision, set goals and objectives to get there, clarify expectations and standards for the work, and then serve as a resource for high performance simply let the organization down.
Their failure to lead has dire consequences.
Leaders who watch rather than act and establish rules rather than propel change undermine the ability of the team to perform. Over time, team members become discouraged and disengage. The top talent soon leaves for a better opportunity and the remaining team is left to work on a rudderless ship.
Why would a person in the position to lead allow this to happen? Either they’re not ready for the challenge to lead, lacking the skills and know-how to sail the ship, or they are so enamored with title and authority that they have little interest or motivation to move the team forward.
Leading is always a choice, and not every leader makes it.
Organizations that fail to appreciate that not all leaders will step up and make the leadership choice typically put people in positions of authority and hope for the best. Sadly, more than a small percentage of selected leaders will choose to focus their attention on personal satisfaction and decline to lead.
All great organizations require every prospective leader to confront the choice to lead and signal they are up to the challenge. The very fact of agreeing to act as a leader can be a game changer. People who commit to the idea of being leaders generally perform at a much higher level than those who slip into the role.
A 15-minute conversation asking promising talent to actively decide to become leaders can help organizations weed out those who won’t lead.
It's high time organizations of all stripes stop appointing leaders. Ask for their commitment upfront before they are given the title and role. The choice to lead ultimately defines who will and won’t succeed as leaders.
To paraphrase Anne Frank, first we make our choices and then our choices make us.