Why Are Good Leaders So Rare? by Mark Wager
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Why Are Good Leaders So Rare?
By Mark Wager
If you ask a group of people to describe an effective leader they will list a similar selection of qualities. The kind of comments you will typically hear is: a person with vision, good communication skills, honesty and integrity; capable of relating to people and able to influence people to believe in themselves. Regardless of the industry within which a leader performs, people have a similar idea of the type of leader they want to work alongside, yet with this being the case why is it that we so often hear people complaining about poor leaders and managers they have to tolerate working with just to keep their jobs? Why are good leaders so rare?
Employers underestimate the value of Effective Leadership
Imagine the worst boss you have ever worked for. Think about how you felt and how demoralised you were at work and if your work was impacted as a result. Did you stay in your role? Now think about the best leader you ever worked alongside. How did you feel working with this person? Were you motivated? Did you feel happy in your role and ask yourself how your work was impacted as a result? There is no doubt whatsoever that a good effective leader can significantly impact the quality and quantity of work an employee puts in. Performance and production is enhanced. Depending on how well a leader engages with his employees a tremendous amount of loyalty can be generated. In offices and factories all across the world companies are losing money because of poor leadership creating dissatisfied employees.
This happens because employers when recruiting their managers tend not to look for leadership qualities and when they do they can mistake other qualities for leadership most commonly they view “The technical expert’ and “the cheerleader” as leaders when they are not. The most common coaching client I have is the technical expert, someone who has demonstrated high levels of technical knowledge and as a result has now been promoted to a people manager, often with no training of how to deal with the complexities of human nature. It’s the equivalent of asking a Footballer to go and play Rugby at the same level just because they both require a level of athleticism. It's very rare going to work because the two different sports require more than athleticism it requires a very different skill set. Technical experts going into leadership roles are given the same challenge, leadership requires a level of technical expertise but so much more is also requires, a series of skills that can be learnt but are not necessary in order to be a high performing technical expert.
Beware the Cheerleader
The other quality that employers mistake for leadership is the “cheerleader” you see employers get carried away with candidates with enthusiasm and a charismatic personality. It’s easy to see why as both the qualities of a cheerleader are ones we often see in leaders but beware the cheerleader as often these qualities are a thin veil which can easy be broken through when they have to deal with their first performance or conflict issue within their team. While some leaders are enthusiastic other are quiet and while all leaders have a quality of charisma, it can be demonstrated in different ways. A good way to separate the cheerleader form the leader is to ask questions regarding emotional intelligence, how have they dealt with failure, how have they handled relationships with people who they have not gone along with. Self awareness and emotional intelligence are the foundations of quality leaders and not enthusiasm and charisma.
Leaders are born but quality leaders are made.
All is not lost. We are all born with different levels of abilities, some people strike lucky in the genetic lottery and achieve great things with little to no effort yet others have to work hard to develop their skills in order to reach the same level of achievements. Regardless of which category you fall in leadership is no different you can be born with a certain level of leadership skills but in order to be a quality leader, the kind of leader that makes a difference in people’s lives you have to work on those skills. In the same way that every successful sportsman seeks out a quality coach that can utilise their gifts in order to take them to the next level, leaders who are serious about being successful require the same quality of coaching. Leaders may be born but quality leaders are made.
About the Author:
Mark Wager is a Leadership expert who specialises in developing the natural leader that lives inside each and every one of us. Mark provides training to groups and individuals in New Zealand and internationally. Contact Mark using the enquiry form below
If you enjoyed this article check out the latest book by Mark Wager. The Elite Guide to Leadership is available at Amazon for only $2.99USD. Click the image below for more details.
Posted: Monday 16 February 2015