Whether at home or at work, the most important thing a great leader can do is set a great example. To do that, it means knowing both what to do—and what not to.
We can learn something from everyone—always. Having successful mentors and role models to learn from is invaluable! Sometimes, however, the greatest lessons come from being subjected to ineffective leadership and seeing firsthand what doesn't work—and making sure we don't fall into the same self-defeating traps.
For several years, I was a subcontractor for a small consulting company and had the opportunity to observe the owner in a wide variety of situations and interactions. It was an amazing case study in how to destroy relationships without even trying—or realizing it. The reason he never realized it—or admitted he did—was that everything was always about him and his fragile self concept.
He would consistently use his skills and bravado to draw people in, but without exception, he would kill the deal with his ego-centered demands. While he obsessed over "making it big" and had multiple "get rich quick" schemes going, it was never about the money, not really. It was about what money meant to him—success, power and, most importantly, validation of self.
If he could just get that one big deal, then he'd feel okay about himself. And it was because he didn't really like himself—didn't feel good enough inside—that he was driven to convince everyone that he was smarter, better, wiser and more skilled than they were.
The things his insecurities and low self-esteem compelled him to do were the very things that prevented him from getting what he really wanted—validation, acceptance and approval. And if by chance, he ever did get that one big deal, he still wouldn't feel good about himself. He couldn't, because it was never about the deal, it was about his need to face his inner demons and find his own self-worth.
It can be easy for any of us to get derailed and not realize when we've let ego run amok. And, sometimes, even when we know what to do on the positive side, we may not recognize the things we do on the not-so-positive side that negates everything else.
It absolutely critical to take a positive approach and learn everything you can on how to be a great leader. It's also important to know how you can derail it. Here is a list of 6 things that you can do—just once—that will cost you the respect and support of your tribe.
6 Things Great Leaders Don't Do
Show Distrust: Show people that you don't trust them. Quiz them often. You can even use a clever joking manner to make accusations. Make it clear that you're watching their every move. Give detailed instructions that show how you think they'll screw up if left to think for themselves. Make certain everyone feels like they're back in grade school, trying to stay out of the principal's office.
Be a Dictator: Make it clear that you are the boss and that you know more than everyone else and that what you say goes—you are the only one who has the good sense to make any decisions, even the most trivia. Their opinions and suggestions are neither requested nor needed. Give them tons of responsibilities, but absolutely no authority. Crack down on any freethinkers who say they are just "doing what needs done"—that's a slippery slope.
Lie: Say whatever it takes to make the situation seem okay—or to make yourself look good. Deliberately phrase things so you technically can't be accused of lying. This is very important. And if one lie won't suffice, simply tell another. And don't worry about it! Your people will put up with it because they need you. Nobody is stupid enough to stand up to you. And besides, everyone knows that if you have enough power, you can get away with anything!
Invoke a Double Standard: Do as I say, not as I do is pretty self-explanatory. It's especially effective if you have strict rules, but make it clear they don’t apply to you because you are the "leader." You'll also want to make different standards for personal friends, allies and snitches. Giving perks to a select few for brown-nosing is essential.
Never Acknowledge the Good: Be sure to never give praise. If you're trapped and must respond to an exceptional accomplishment, do it in a backhanded way and compare it to something you've done or simply say how they couldn't have done it without you, jokingly, of course. Do whatever is necessary to make it clear they haven't really accomplished anything.
Play the Blame: When something goes wrong, make sure the first thing you do is assign blame. This keeps everyone focused on what's really important—who made a mistake. And be sure to shame those who want to focus on solutions—that's just crazy talk. The situation will either resolve itself when you publicly behead and scapegoat the culprit or you can use rule #3 and lie your way out of it. Either way it's a win-win for you.
I hope you see the humor in these six ways not to behave. I also hope you realize that they are very real issues for a lot of people—struggling leaders and those subjected to them. These are important factors on the home front as well, maybe especially at home because that is where we first learn how to interact.
So, if you could see yourself—even a little—in any of these scenarios, be grateful. Be thrilled! Because you've just found ways to make yourself—and your company or family—better for everyone. When you become willing to see the chinks in your own armor—and do something about them—you take a huge step on the path to having what you really want—happiness. You'll also begin to see wonderful positive results in every aspect of your life.
To quote the Dalai Lama, "It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come."
And, really, that's what we all want—to be happy.
So, to quote the subtitle to my new book: What are you willing to do to get what you really want?
Paula Renaye is a certified professional life coach, motivational speaker and trainer, regression hypnosis practitioner, award-winning author and consultant. Her latest book, The Hardline Self Help Handbook, has been called "a tough-love Chicken Soup for the Soul with a do-it-yourself roadmap for getting unstuck." Visit www.hardlineselfhelp.com for more practical tips on living healthy and happy in all areas of life. The book is also available at HYPERLINK "http://www.amazon.com/Hardline-Self-Help-Handbook-Willing/dp/0967478650/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1304533539&sr=1-1"http://www.amazon.com
and on HYPERLINK "http://www.amazon.com/Hardline-Self-Help-Handbook-ebook/dp/B004XNKDB6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AZC9TZ4UC9CFC&s=books&qid=1304532186&sr=8-2" Kindle.
Category: Self Help/Personal Development
Title: The Hardline Self Help Handbook
Subtitle: What Are You Willing to Do to Get What You Really Want?
Author: Paula Renaye
Publisher: Diomo Books (www.diomobooks.com)
Format, ISBN, Price:
Trade Paperback (6 x 9) ISBN 0-9674786-5-0 Price: $19.95
(See publisher website for discount codes through one seller.)
eBook (most formats available): $9.99
Kindle ASIN: B004XNKDB6; Smashwords ISBN 978-0-9674786-7-8
Companion Workbook (Printable PDF) ISBN 0-9674786-8-5
available through Diomo Books.com
Copyright © Paula Renaye, 2011
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