Timeout for Leadership-your one-minute leadership idea
Game time adjustments #3
How needy are you?
Fact: As a leader, this statement may sound awful to hear. But admit it, you have personal needs too.
I am sure that you are used to carrying one of your emotionally needy employees. We all have done that. But what happens to the organization when the leader is the emotionally needy one?
I have seen situations where the leader has an ego so large that he or she can barely fit through the door. These people are deadly for their organization. He or she consistently needs some sort of personal validation. He or she is never sated. Nothing that you can do will be enough to stroke this person’s ego. Stop trying.
This same personally needy leader needs to be liked. He or she wants to be one of the guys or gals. The leader must know that these relationships change the minute one accepts a leadership position. Everyone likes to be liked. It is human nature. But for this needy leader adoration by the team is never enough. This need to be liked or accepted should never cloud one’s vision and decision-making abilities. Yet, I know, it does.
People want to consistently hear “yes” from you. And when that “yes” becomes a “no” there will be hell to pay. This leader always says “yes” because he or she has this need to be liked or loved. One cannot run a school or an organization by constantly seeking approval. It is impossible to please everyone so stop trying. There is a fine line that is drawn between one being “nice” and one being just overly needy. When people accept you, like you or love you, it nourishes your big ego. You become like the insatiable alligator that I have written about before. You know, the alligator that no matter how much you feed them remains constantly hungry.
You will face a catastrophic leadership crisis when your personal emotional needs are placed ahead of your school’s or organization’s needs. Your chase of approval, validation or love becomes like that hamster on the exercise wheel in its cage. The exercise will consume your energy and you will go nowhere, just like that hamster.
What can you do about it? First of all, I would make sure that I hire the right people. You do not need sycophants. Then I would make sure that I show an enormous amount of gratitude to my staff. I doubt if you will “over” praise someone, if that is possible. Of course, this praise must be real and genuine. Finally, I would make sure that when something went well, when we succeeded on some sort of challenge, when we accomplished some sort of goal or objective, I would get out of the way and make sure that my staff received and accepted all of the credit for this win. Of course, the converse is also true. When something goes badly, you fail at that challenge or you fail to make an objective, it is time for you to step up and accept the full responsibility and yes, blame if that is the case.
No one ever said leadership is easy. It is hard and can be a very lonely place. It is not for everyone. Is it for you?