Anyone can be a leader... ANYONE. However, there is an extreme shortage in the Supply Chain of GREAT Leaders, and executives need to pay attention.
From my experience, generic-label leaders are the most common type of leaders in the corporate world today. I'm using this nomenclature to refer to those inferior, sub-par leaders who got their role because they "knew a guy"/had the most tenure/had a similar title at another organization/were a fantastic employee (so surely will make a great leader)/looked good on paper, or simply because no one else wanted the job.
Sadly, these are the folks who are destroying our workforce, one employee at a time. I would even venture to say that they are also direct influencers of the Great Resignation that we are experiencing today. They either weren't taught, or don't care to learn about, how to effectively lead people to make them want to stay.
According to the website of "the #1 New York Times best-selling author, life and business strategist, philanthropist and entrepreneur," Tony Robbins, the definition of leadership is to "influence, inspire and help others become their best selves, building their skills and achieving goals along the way."
Notice Robbins doesn't mention that leaders have to be the smartest person in the room, the most profitable salesperson, the most influential communicator or even a financial guru.
"The best leaders know that they simply need to inspire the best in others. THIS is the secret sauce to being a GREAT Leader." --- The DIY Leader
I've been a people leader for decades, both in title and in general. I wasn't sent to leadership seminars or workshops. I didn't take leadership courses in college, and YouTube didn't exist back in my day. I did, however, read a lot of books on leadership, developed dozens of leadership courses/curricula, and have over 15 years of on-the-job training (OJT) in the leadership space.
However, my greatest education in leadership, came from two sources:
The few times I was lucky enough to report to a really GREAT Leader.
The long list of talented people I was lucky enough to lead.
Those experiences were life altering and more enlightening to me than all of the books that lined my bookshelf. I didn't realize how lucky I was to have those people in my life... until I didn't.
You see, GREAT Leaders don't tend to stay in one place for very long. They tend to be innovators who often get promoted or recruited by others who recognize they have something special. Additionally, the generic-label leaders who happen to land in the role of decision maker are often insecure and feel threatened by GREAT Leaders. Therefore, you have a continuous cycle of sub-par leaders hiring and promoting other sub-par leaders.
The difference between GREAT Leaders and generic-label leaders is so significant that I feel compelled to use unique typescript in this article to differentiate between the two!
If you're wondering which category you fall into, ask yourself the following:
What percentage of my former/current direct reports have literally said to me, "You're one of the best bosses I've ever had?"
What percentage of my former/current direct reports want to follow me if I change jobs?
What percentage of my former/current direct reports would gladly write a glowing recommendation for me on LinkedIn?
If your answer to any of the above is less than 75%, I believe you fall into the generic-label leader category. I also believe that if you don't think any of the above questions matter... you DEFINITELY fall into the generic-label leader category and that you are part of the problem.
Bonus content: Another KPI for GREAT Leaders - what percentage of your former employees would spend their personal time editing your random article for posting on LinkedIn? Thank you, Martha, for being that person for me. More tips to come in future articles.
So while I have the time, I've decided to make this a topic of discussion via this newsletter that I'm sharing with all of you savvy folks reading this article. I feel like leadership in corporate America needs a makeover!
"One way to slow the Great Resignation is via #LeadershipReform." --The DIY Leader
We all have stories to tell about horrific leaders we've reported to. However, I'd like to propose #LeadershipReform - a movement in which we spread the word to re-educate folks on what makes a GREAT Leader.
I know, I know - there are a ton of people already in this space sharing great information. I frequently "like" and share their articles on social media; however, I'm a writer at heart and a wannabe novelist who trained as an Instructional Designer to allow me to write and pay the bills. I eventually "fell" into leadership roles where I led teams of trainers, coordinators and Instructional Designers. Hence, I identify as a DIY Leader. More importantly, I have been identified by others as a GREAT Leader. This is my proudest career achievement.
So, while it's true that anyone can be a leader, I'm suggesting that anyone can be rehabilitated into a GREAT Leader... so long as they ave the humility and desire to do so.
Like and share this article with your friends and co-workers, and follow me as I continue to post articles about #LeadershipReform and becoming a GREAT Leader.