In the fast paced lifestyle of a leader there are times when we might not realize that we have become more of a disadvantage than an advantage in the eyes of our people.
Sometimes the drive to critique, perfect and inspect things can become greater than the goal to raise and develop people into free thinking, ownership-mentality leaders. At this point, It’s likely you are overcrowding the leadership space. This restricts their ability to grow and be broadly perceived as key talent assets, separate from yourself.
With these unconscious decisions you’ve moved from being a champion of your people to being their competitor.
Usually this doesn’t come from bad intentions, quite the opposite. Often this overcrowding leadership behavior stems from unbalanced ambition and an overemphasis on “managing up” in order to create the perfect image of yourself and your team to those in power. Mostly from a desire to see everyone be successful and avoid risks or damage to your collective brand.
The greater truth is, when you have talented, independent, and driven people they don’t want a boss who manages up and down so tightly that they have to fight to feel like a true owner – for their ideas and recommendations to be heard and embraced, or to compete for visibility when the majority of the face time above, and in key cross functional decisions, is occupied by their leader.
The MVPs we all covet to have on our team would rather take some risks, operate boldly, and claim their space at the organizational table so they are seen and noted for the individual work they do.
Needing to regularly intellectually fence with your leader and convince them out of their pre-determined stance so your point of view can be equally valued becomes quickly demoralizing and angering.
Particularly strong-minded people with convictions and a thirst to do hard things, and who care deeply about their career, will realize their leader is a disadvantage in the long game and plan to move on.
Double check whether you are a champion or competitor in the eyes of your team – how are you investing your time with them, and how well are you doing at letting them claim their space as ownership equals so they can challenge themselves and feel the satisfaction of knowing they are growing under your leadership.
Cultivating owners like this, not followers, helps build their careers and improve their chances for greater opportunities.
Everyone wants to bring their talent to work for a life-changing boss who cares more about advancing their future than controlling their present.