Friday, May 6, 2011

Colin Powell's Lessons in Leadership - 2

"The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. The have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."
- Gen (Ret.) Colin Powell

How often do "leaders" forget that their purpose is to provide guidance, direction and support to a team toward a common goal? But instead, as Colin Powell mentions, leaders build barriers to communication; and the expectation of help from someone higher up the hierarchy is nearly unthinkable blasphemy. Unfortunately, this is all to often the case. Hell, even Braveheart touched on the subject when William Wallace said:

"You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom."

I am sure we can all find examples in our life where we worked for a leader who took his/her position to mean that he/she was better than you, and you should basically "bow down" to his/her will. You work long hours while they go on trips, or leave early from work. They pass the blame on to their staff, but take the credit. And heaven help you if you look for help, because it's a sign that you cannot do your job!

This is a poisonous environment to maintain, and in this day that will soon be a very big problem. Recent surveys found that 83% of workers are unhappy and will look for better opportunities this year.  

8 3   P E R C E N T !!!

And since most companies let go of what would be considered "dead weight" that means you are losing your top performers. The moral? Start showing you care. Work with your team to identify problems and solutions. Make sure they know you are working hard too, and that you appreciate the hours they are putting in. AND, don't tell somebody it is their problem, so fix it. Don't foster the poisonous environment that is a failure in leadership and will cause a failure in your team.

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