Do Good Leaders Always Deflect Compliments of Success Back to Their Team?

April 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

The other day, a fellow “over achiever” mentioned to me that all that he’d accomplished in his career was the culmination of many others, different teams of people, groups, and members of his leadership group. He only used the word “I” when talking about things which hadn’t gone all that well or as planned, perhaps taking responsibility for mistakes, decisions, or unfortunate moves he’d made at the helm of the leadership command and control. However, whenever things went good, he realized it was his team that made it all possible, not himself alone. Okay so, let’s talk about this for moment shall we?

You see, I believe that is the right way to play it. Good leaders do. Of course, it is unethical and deceptive to not tell the truth also. Thus, one could charge manipulation to the leader who gives false praise that isn’t deserved, and there would be no honor in that – after all, in that case it is a lie. Of course, blaming other for leadership decisions that the leader made is much worse, “Blame gaming” is defeatist attitude, and there is no place for that, no honor there either. Case in point our current Teleprompter in Chief.

He explained that Dr. Stephen Covey had discussed this test of true leadership in his leadership series, referring to “abundance mentality” where enough good things are going right that it makes it so much easier to share the wealth so to speak or the credit for all the successes. Now then, I understand this principle, and although I am not a Stephen Covey disciple, of course, I am not against him either, he’s of the whole “day planner” Franklin Quest era, and being a participant in those strategies, I am fine with most of what he says, but can’t give him credit for all he says, like many gurus of the speaking circuit, much of his positive enthusiastic “flow” is re-run wisdom of past periods.

As far as Steven Covey is concerned, I think he’s fine for those who are of 120 IQ or less, but for me, he insults my intelligence. So, I am not a disciple. I am self-motivated from within, needing no outside influences, they actually de-motivate me, but again that’s just me, certainly not the masses. I watch and observe from outside the box. Covey seems to create optimism in leadership groups, which is all well and good, and there is definitely a place for that.

It’s interesting, but false optimism is also dangerous to the individual and to the group, as it creates “unearned ego” and so easily leads into the political correctness of “everyone gets a certificate” and everyone is great because they breathe the air? Now then, with that said, I realize the massive consumer market for self-help books too, as I’ve written a few myself. Suffice it to say; good leaders don’t take all the credit, and good followers want success for themselves and want to be part of something successful and worthwhile, a leader’s job is to make it so. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative volume of eBooks; Corporate Business Series.

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