Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Are Leaders Born, Made or Appointed Because They're There?

OK, so I might push some buttons here but let's face it, too many people are catapulted into positions of leadership by virtue of being there...already being in an organization, meeting hiring quotas according to gender etc. But are they leaders? And can they lead a staff, an organization successfully?

I agree that leaders can be made and many, put into positions to lead in times of crisis for example, show their true colors (to themselves and others) and just fly. Others don't even have managerial skills never mind organizational leadership skills and kill staff one employee at a time. Retention becomes a myth and people run out the door as fast as they can.

So if you're thinking of promoting a relative just because they're a part of the family and you trust them, or someone from within because it meets your quota, or, as in some instances, promoting from within because you couldn't be bothered to do the work of searching for the right candidate, think good and hard at the cost of that move. Statistics are blatantly against success in those circumstances and the cost to your organization, both financial and morale-wise is huge!

For example, for people who make $150,000 a year, the financial expense for wasting time due to lack of leadership, absenses, people leaving and having to be replaced etc. runs in the range of $25,350. No, that's not per year, it's per month! If there are multiple cases like this, well, you get the picture.

Choose your leaders wisely. Make sure they're a good fit not only for the organization but its internal culture. I share this criteria with my clients when they're looking to fill leading positions and ask them "Which category is each person (who is competing for the job) in?

  1. Will the staff be dependent on that person to get the job done (inter-dependent)?
  2. Will the staff develop by working with that leader (inter-developmental)?
  3. Will the relationship between staff and this leader be inter-magical? i.e. the energy and passion within the organization will be tangible. People will want to work there and with this individual because they know they'll fly and will fight to work with this person.
  4. Who do you want in your organization? Someone who creates the inter-magical or someone who's convenient?

It's not only about leadership, it's about energy, enthusiasm, building a sustainable environment where staff will thrive and creating a culture whereby people will fight to get in, not out!

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome new subscriber from Cameroon! That's 98 countries and territories and counting!

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