maandag 10 december 2012

The Black Holes In a Leader's Universe

Let me just get straight to the point:

The universe does not exist of leaders and followers only!

There, I said it.

In every group, formal or informal, you will find people who do not have the best intention with your interests, with the group's or their own for that matter. In fact, some of them might even be self-destructive. Though the most common among them is the selfish kind. Some might act as follower for a while but always in their own interest. Or they may convince others to follow their path of selfishness, but that does not deserve to be called leadership. They are a minority, but a dangerous one. Sowing bad seed whenever and wherever possible, workplaces included.

People who are determined to put their own interest before anything or anyone, will not easily associate. Dissociation seems to be their standard modus operandi. Any effort to engage with them is therefore likely to fail, unless it serves their interest. Are they worth writing a blog about? No. However, it may be worthwhile to investigate how to recognize these black holes in your universe before they suck all the attention away from what really matters. Especially for those of you who have the courage to dedicate your lives to leading others.

Authentic leaders, more than any, will show their vulnerability to those they lead. Getting hurt is a part of the deal. It is, however, a whole different ballgame altogether if the hurt becomes intentional.

Here are some signs that may help you identify them within your group:

  • malicious gossip; if they talk about others with you, they will talk about you with others
  • no support, only opposition; bringing (your) leadership in question is their automatic response to a glitch, whereas you will not hear them if the course remains otherwise steady
  • 'them against us' mentality; they have a natural tendency to put the blame for everything with the other party, preferably with those in a position they hold responsible for their own position
  • inconsistencies; it involves people without scruples, not short of telling a lie or two
  • lack of commitment; they are the 'friends' who are absent in times of need

It is not my intention with this blog to instigate a witch hunt in your community or organisation. If at all I would suggest an approach, it would be engagement. You may find these signs with people who are in fact willing to lead or follow, but have been disappointed along the way. Engage. And when it fails, try again. But as I said, you will run into individuals for whom this will never work.

Now you know.

Have you ever identified a black hole in your universe? How did you deal with it?

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