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Why Are Good Leaders So Rare?

Mark Wager is in Fiji from August 21 to 28 and has a few coaching slots remaining. To arrange a time with Mark contact him at mark@eliteld.co.nz   If you
01 Aug 2015 11:00
Why Are Good Leaders So Rare?

Mark Wager is in Fiji from August 21 to 28 and has a few coaching slots remaining. To arrange a time with Mark contact him at mark@eliteld.co.nz

 

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 in a recent survey, 25 per cent of people believe their boss is a poor leader? Why are good leaders so rare?

 

Underestimation

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.

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 poor leadership is 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 rarely 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 face the same challenge. Leadership requires a level of technical expertise but so much more is also required.

A series of skills that can be learnt but are also necessary in order to be a high performing technical expert.

 

Beware of the Cheerleader

The other quality that employers mistake for leadership is the “cheerleader.”

You see employers get carried away with candidates who are enthusiastic and have a charismatic personality.

It’s easy to see why as both these qualities of a cheerleader are ones we often see in leaders.

But beware of the cheerleader as often these qualities are a thin veil which can easily be broken through when they have to deal with their first performance or conflict issue within their team.

While some leaders are enthusiastic others 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 just enthusiasm and charisma.

 

Different levels of abilities

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 or no effort yet others have to work hard to develop their skills in order to reach the same level of achievement.

Regardless of which category they fall in, leadership is no different.

They 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, they 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.

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