Rather frequently, I find myself blown away by John C. Maxwell’s ability to reach deep into my soul and speak directly to my needs and experiences. This time was about ineffective leadership. I don’t know if it is circumstance, his style of writing, or maybe he’s a clairvoyant who knows exactly what I wanted to read in 2012 so he wrote it for me, knowing how long my reading back log was, in 2007.
It is part of my Dragon Slaying Routine to read John C. Maxwell’s The Maxwell Daily Reader every morning up arriving in the office. During my run this morning I was listening to a book on Michael Hyatt’s Mentoring Reader’s List (yes, I’m about a month behind) called The Power of Full Engagement. A portion of this book lead me down a path of thinking that reminded me of a struggling time in my young career.
I was an energetic and fired up young leader ready to take on the world. I had built rapport in the office and was just gaining my momentum when I was derailed by an ineffective leader. For months I allowed this ineffective leader to slow my own progress. It was a very stressful and frustrating time in my life until one day I figured out how to beat the system and stack the deck in my favor. This is how John puts it, with a little of my own wisdom sprinkled in.
Develop a Solid Relationship With Your Ineffective Leader – My personal experience was to schedule some sort of “fun time” outside the office at least once per quarter. You can take them to play golf, or attend a show, or anything that interests them. Also plan to have lunch, just the two of you, at least once a month.
Identify and Appreciate Your Ineffective Leader’s Strengths – this is a life lesson really. You can always choose to focus on the good or the bad in a person. By choosing to focus on the good you can trick your mind out of the depression their ineffective leadership is imposing on you, thus keeping yourself in good spirits.
Commit Yourself to Adding Value to Your Ineffective Leader’s Strengths – Marketing and Finance were too areas my leader was completely blowing it with our company. I would take on the projects in these areas then report to my ineffective leader to make him feel like he had the control. I did the same with interpersonal skills. It turned out pretty soon people began coming to me instead of him.
Prime the Muskets – We’ve all heard of “The Shot Heard Round The World.” Before this shot could take place and begin knocking down the dominoes of America’s Freedom, the musket had to be loaded with powder, a swab, a bullet and then packed. You must take your ineffective leader’s weaknesses and prime the musket before letting them pull the trigger.
Expose Your Leader To Good Leadership Resources – Just because you read leadership books, blogs, and attend seminars to improve your skills, it doesn’t mean others even know about all these resources. Disguise the exposure as you say, “hey, check out this awesome article” or mention how you read Michael Hyatt’s blog every day. But remember, you can lead them to the water, but you can’t make them drink.
Publicly Affirm Your Ineffective Leader – This will build a relationship with them and help others see them as tolerable. It will also stand out to others around you that you bring the best out of people. This is a good quality that others will appreciate in you.
I used to find myself a recluse in my own office, hiding from my ineffective leader who was doing more harm to my mentality than good. I would find every opportunity I could to escape the office just so I could catch my breath. This was only hurting me and my organization. Because of my ineffective leader, I was achieving little to no results.
You must apply the list above in order to help your ineffective leader and add value to your organization. Moreover, upper management will see that you can lead those above you, thus, you can certainly lead those below you, within the organization.
Do you know an ineffective leader? How can helping them?