What makes an individual great — is it their work ethic, their natural talent, or their unwillingness to relent to adversity or failure? Could be one, could be all, could be a combination. When the individual is called upon to lead, whether by hiring, vote, or appointment, they have accepted a duty to support the interests of others before themselves to achieve a desired outcome. Do they extend traits that made them great individuals because they are now “leaders,” or do they extend those traits to achieve those outcomes? BIG DIFFERENCE! Recently, it seems many leaders have lost (or in some cases, never developed) the art of quiet servitude. This has been replaced by what I like to call, “Look at Me” Leadership.
What is “Look at Me” Leadership
“Look at Me” Leadership consists of noticeable traits and actions, which, in any combination, can prove ruinous to an organization or team. Feel free to comment with more than what I have listed here:
- Inability to see beyond their own time and placing actively a lack of importance on others’ time demands
- Consistent and forceful overtures regarding their power, clout, position, and journey to “leadership”
- Over-delegation for the purpose of lightening their load (i.e. “Here – I need to get this off my plate.”)
- An expectation that their needs are above all others’ and they must be catered to first and at all times
- Charitable activity when it is beneficial for their perceived image
- Charlatan and convivial behavior in the presence of other power brokers
- Outright dismissal of perceived “unimportant” people or people perceived to be below their standards (i.e. service staff)
- A desperate need to be accompanied in public (i.e. running interference) for extension of power and ego
- Taking pleasure in being seen and/or heard even the expense of those they lead
These traits are not only harmful to the team dynamic, but will, if enabled, ruin any determinable chance for harmony. When we, as teammates or leaders in our own right, choose to enable these behaviors, WE become part of the problem. By disallowing, respectfully, these behaviors we can change a culture and further our shared visions.
Can “Look at Me” Leaders be successful? Sure…but I urge you to define success. Wealth? Notoriety? Power? Sounds like what a super villain wants, and if that’s what you want, then by all means go for it. But WINNERS are those who, despite amassing fame or material goods, serve with the utmost care for the needs of those around them. The greatest riches are not found in your pockets, but in the true intentions of others toward you and yours in kind to them. Blind loyalty to the role and trust cannot be demanded, they must be earned through action. Only then will a leader be a winner, and will organizations flourish TOGETHER.
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