Is a great leader one who appears helpful but does not allow subordinates
to grow beyond the leader's knowledge or ability? Is a great leader a person who strives to build subordinates' knowledge and ability so they could easily assume the leader's position? Is a great leader someone who tells others what to do? Do they become so involved in the team that no decisions can be made without them?
A Crucial Question
If you are in a leadership
role, a good question to ask yourself is, what kind of leader do I want to work
for? Is it someone who helps you develop your skills? Or, is it someone
who doesn't want you to develop further skills? Is it someone who
team members to make decisions weighing the pros and cons?
Or, is it someone who directs team members to come to them with every
decision that needs to be made?
After you determine the answer, ask yourself, are you that kind of leader?
Would you want to work for yourself? When you think back over your
careers, who were the leaders that were great; the ones that brought out
the best in people? I think the answer is obvious.
This inspirational quote said by Fred A. Manske Jr., summarizes
the point: "The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people
to the point that they eventually surpass him or her in knowledge and ability."
The person who is unselfish in sharing knowledge, who makes
a concerted effort to develop a person's skills to the highest level
they desire (recognizing that not everyone wants to do this), is one
who applauds each and every refined or developed ability.
This type of person creates a positive environment; an environment
of growth rather than an environment of stagnation. This is a positive
environment that encourages decisions and if a mistake is made then
we learn from the mistake rather than have the fear of making a mistake.
An environment of growth where information is shared, personal development
is encouraged, and discussions occur to help everyone grow and learn.
Do Not Be Discouraged
In some circumstances, however, no matter what role you are in, either
as a leader, or in a subordinate role to a leader, you may have to take
responsibility for your own growth and development. The point here is
that what you are not doing is allowing someone else to determine your
potential. If this means, for example, that you have to enroll in a course outside the job, so be it. After all, at the end of the day, you are ultimately responsible anyway for developing enhanced or new skills.
In a lot of cases, people often question whether they really have a leader in their current position. This often means, instead, that the person in charge is more about keeping control than about helping employees to move further up the food chain.
A Boss, Not A Leader
These types of people, simply put, are not leaders but are bosses.
A boss is a person who has been put in charge; it is a person who
sees their role more about keeping everything the same, maintaining
the status quo. This type of person is often concerned about their own job,
their own future rather than anyone else's future.
After all, this type of person sees their role threatened by anyone who shows
potential to surpass them. The overarching mentality of this type of boss
is fear for their own job. To them, it is far safer to keep everyone from
expanding their talents because they believe that to suppress is to guarantee
Remember, however, to believe in yourself,
and be all that you were created to be! You do not have to nor are you
required to stay locked in a position that prevents your professional growth.
There Are Always Options
There are options that you can put into play to move beyond what
someone else may be preventing you from doing in your current job.
These options may not be easy; these options may require you to start
at a lower position than your current level. But, if a new or different position
allows you to grow, or sees you in a position where you report to a leader
and not a boss, it may be the best move you've ever made.
You have a choice to stay where you are. You may decide that it is better
to wait it out hoping that your current boss moves on, or retires. If this
option is your choice, be prepared to spend a long time doing the same
job for months, or even years. The downside of this strategy is that your
boss may stay until retirement and if you are close to the same age, you
could be in for a very long wait. Are you willing and mentally able to stay?
Are you willing to continue working in the same job when you know deep
down that you have a lot more to offer?
You may have the opportunity to apply to a different company
where your current skills are in demand. However, this may mean that you
have to take a lower paid salary until you are able to acquire seniority,
or a promotion. On the other hand, you may see a new company as an
opportunity only to learn that the person you report is the same or worse
than your last boss.
The opportunity here, however, is that you may already know someone
who is working at the company you are looking to join. This person
would be able to give you an inside view point of the company, its'
philosophy in regards to employee development, and an inside peek
as to current issues within this company.
If you are able to utilize this option, take some time to check out the company and what it does to assist or train its' employees. It is far better to know what you are getting into than to simply jump to another company to only learn you made a mistake.
Forget about waiting it out or finding a new company to work for.
Take the bull by the horns and spread your wings. What does this mean?
Simply put, take control of your own future and stop waiting for the crumbs
to fall into place. Surpass the rest of the people who are right alongside of
you hoping for the same thing. The strategy is straight forward but it requires
you to take bold action, it takes time, perseverance and a stick to it attitude.
The opportunity lies in signing up for additional training using your own
money and spending time. The money spent means taking courses at night
school, or online. It means that you will have to give up some of your free
time while still doing your current job. It means staying with this strategy
despite friends who tell you are wrong, or that you are missing out on
But, here is the point to always remember: you are in the driver's seat.
No one can stop you from learning, from preparing to move forward, or
from excelling in an area that you know you can master.
What Suits You
Of all the options outlined above, which is the most appealing to you?
Which option leads you to where you want to go? Which option puts
you in control instead of someone else's? You decide.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"You are the only person on earth who can use your ability."
"Ability is what you can do, attitude is whether you will do it."
"Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!"
"They who know how to employ opportunities will often find that they can create them; and what we can achieve depends less on the amount of time we possess than on the use we make of our time."
John S. Mill