Week 34 - Uncommon Leadership

Posted by J. Clay Norton on 5/5/2017 7:00:00 AM

"Insecure leaders feel entitled and are always unhappy.  Sure leaders show up each day with gratitude, knowing they're owed nothing." - Kevin DeShazo
Common = Average?  If so, we should have no desire to be that way.  We want to be exceptional in what we do.  As leaders we must.  If we are not, then we are just common.  Uncommon Leadership is where we need to gravitate towards.  Let's be and do leadership different.  Let's do and be uncommon.  Everyone involved will thank you for it. 
The post below on Uncommon Leadership by Steve Keating of LeadToday https://stevekeating.me/2017/02/24/uncommon-leadership/ 
One area that I found thought provoking touched on perpetual "bad" leadership.  We lead as we were or as we are now being led.  That can be either good or bad.  But if it is bad, then the cycle must be broken and that is done through leading by example by caring.  Wow!  Leaders need to care?  You bet they do.  When leaders care, like serving, it is about others.  Too often, people take the title or position of leader and stop right there. They have what they want and they might not ever admit to it but they are just common leaders.  Leadership is not a noun, it is a verb.  It is action and doing.  Are you able to recognize the difference between common and uncommon leadership?  If you are fortunate to have uncommon leadership where you are, then have an awesome concept to model. 
Do you remember what Rain Man said about average?

Uncommon Leadership


I’ve had the opportunity to spend several days recently with a person recently promoted to a leadership position. He was very good at what he did and earned his promotion. His promotion came with a new title and higher income, unfortunately what it didn’t come with was any hint of how to actually lead. So he doesn’t lead, he just tries to get by managing his new team.


I’ve seen the same scenario play out literally hundreds of times through the years. A person is good at what they do so they are promoted into a leadership role even through they have little, or more commonly, no leadership experience or skills at all.


I call them common leaders. I don’t mean to be disparaging here but it is what it is… common leadership really isn’t leadership at all. At its best it’s just managing and and at it’s worst it’s something much worse. That something involves fear, coercion and sometimes even outright abuse. 


Absent any real leadership skills people in leadership positions too often tend to use intimidation, coercion, threats and punishment to force the compliance of their people. 99.9% of the people in leadership positions who use those tactics are not bad people, it’s just that in many cases that’s how they were taught to “lead.” Sadly, they were likely taught to lead by people who themselves had few if any leadership skills. So the cycle of common leadership simply repeats itself. 


Individuals who do manage to break the cycle of common leadership and become uncommon leaders don’t do so on their own. They most often have a mentor or are led by someone who has broken through the common cycle themselves. 


Here’s one of the most interesting aspects of leadership: it can’t actually be taught but it can be learned. It is learned not so much by listening to a true leader but by watching them. 


Authentic leaders lead by example. They show the way to true uncommon leadership. I can tell people what to look for in a leader, I can share with them the characteristics that make a good leader, and I can even help them judge whether or not someone in a leadership position truly processes those characteristics but a person must teach themselves to lead. 


Let me give you one example. 


Caring for people, truly caring and investing yourself in another person’s success and well-being is an absolute characteristic of an uncommon, authentic leader. I can tell someone that, I can point out a person who has that characteristic but I know of no way to teach someone how to care. They must develop that caring nature on their own. The quickest way to do that is to see someone else display their own caring nature and decide if the results they see are something they want in their own life.


If you were taught to lead by someone who did not develop those uncommon leadership skills then my very best advice to you would be to find a mentor who has. Find a coach or hire a coach who will help you break that cycle of common leadership and become a leader who can actually make a positive difference in the lives of those they would lead. 


Never assume that a leadership position makes you a leader. A leadership position doesn’t come with the right to lead, that must be earned by demonstrating consistent leadership skills. 


Develop those skills and people will naturally follow you.