One of my dearest friends asks this question often… “Do you live a life worth following?” It’s more than a powerful question… it’s terrifying. It causes us to do a deep dive into our values, our vision for the moments we get to spend on this planet, and for the difference we want to make in the lives we intersect while we’re alive.
Do people see you as someone they would want to either work along side, or follow into the fray? Are you the type of a leader others would trust to guide them to success? Maybe? Maybe not? If not, then maybe it’s because of one of the following reasons.
You fail to see your own past failures and current limitations.
Sometimes leaders struggle with leading because they have a blind spot to their own weaknesses. They fail to see where they might need the input of others, or that they might need to get themselves completely out of the way. These leaders develop “historical cataracts”, giving them a blind spot when it comes to seeing their own failures in the past.
You have not been supportive of the causes of others.
The leader who always asks but never invests is selfish. John Maxwell says, “A successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others.” If your track record as a leader does not include finding places of opportunity for others, chances for them to win in the causes and missions that are important to them, then don’t expect enthusiastic support from them for you.
Your vision for a path to success is unclear.
No one can predict every step, every potential pitfall or opportunity that will present itself in the future. However, great leaders prepare well. You may know exactly what you intend to do, how you plan to do it, and every step along the way. But if you fail to communicate effectively with the others in your organization, you will breed feelings of isolation, resentment and frustration. Share the details of the roadmap with your team along the way!
You refuse to receive or act on input from others.
Quality leaders understand this simple truth- they don’t know it all. There is a vast wealth of information in the experience and perspective of others. Successful leaders learn how to mine that treasure and use it to build a better path to the end result everyone wants.
You bully others to get your way no matter what.
Bullies are jerks. It really is that simple. No one wants to be around them. No one wants to work with them. If people are avoiding being a part of your your leadership circle, maybe it is time to do a “bully inventory” on yourself. Do you push your ideas more than you ask others questions? Do you get upset when people challenge or question your ideas? Are you offended if someone else suggests a different approach? Here is another quick and easy approach… approach someone you trust, and ask them if you’re a bully. Then shut up and listen.
You selfishly take credit for yourself alone.
Who wants to be a part of a group that works hard, puts in the sacrifice and sweat equity together, and then to have the leader to hog all the credit and kudos? Nobody, that’s who. The best leaders are the ones who make sure that at the end of the day their team members are recognized for their contributions and accomplishments. There is no “I” in team, but there are two of them in “Idiot”, so remember that if you’re a credit hog.
You consistently fail to prepare well.
The Bible says, “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’” You’d look pretty dumb as a builder if you didn’t plan and budget, right? If you’re going to lead others well, then plan and communicate the plan well.
We do some of our best work together. We really do. It does each one of us good to regularly take a peek in the mirror to see if we are the kind of leader that we would want to follow. So if you had to pick one of the traits above that just might be something you have struggled with, which one would it be, and what are you going to do about it?