conference hall with microphonesYour lack of leadership, either above or below you, might just be your own doing. Let’s look at it from both points of view.

First, let’s begin with those of you in leadership roles wondering why you find your organization seriously lacking in leaders:

  • Perhaps everyone you need to be leaders are disengaged because you’re failing at inspiring or championing a vision
  • Perhaps you’ve created a culture rampant with fear of failure
  • Perhaps you’ve been so focused on your own objectives you’ve left very little, if any, time for others. For example, you’ve neglected to recognize or even at least acknowledge others’ successes
  • Perhaps no one within your organization feels empowered because you keep everything at arm’s length or you shoot down any attempt of others to take initiative
  • Perhaps everyone realizes that your words of affirmation are the extent of a career path under you. They’ve come to the conclusion that you have no interest in investing in them and there are no opportunities for advancement
  • Perhaps you intentionally set unrealistic expectations because you don’t know what you’re asking
  • Perhaps you hired or maybe even promoted people into leadership roles that either don’t want to lead, don’t know how to lead or just have too many distractions to actually be able to lead
  • Perhaps you’re not holding your leaders accountable for weeding out under-performing members of their teams and as a result all their effort is tied up in dealing with those members
  • Perhaps you permitted or enabled high achieving, yet poisonous people to destroy everyone around them
  • Perhaps your organization is simply too small or flat to really need any other leader besides yourself
  • Lastly, perhaps you’re desiring leaders beneath you for the wrong reasons. For example, you don’t want to lead and instead you’d rather hire someone else to do it

Now, for those of you not in “leadership roles.” If you characterize yourself in this realm, sadly you are mistaken. You’ve yet to realize you are leading, regardless of your role. Nevertheless, for those of you looking for more leadership above you:

  • Perhaps your leadership expectations are not aligned with those of your leader’s. For example, your leader may expect you to know or figure out what you need to do
  • Perhaps your leader has very little time and is expecting you to take the initiative and bring them up to speed when they get a chance
  • Perhaps your leader is more of the manager type that just likes to tell you what to do and what not to do. You set yourself on that path early on when you didn’t meet their expectations, likely because you didn’t seek out their expectations. I’d encourage you to fight the urge to be maliciously obedient, as many are. Two heads are always better than one. Instead, take the initiative and get ahead of your boss. Then inform them of your plans, so they may course correct if necessary
  • Perhaps you’ve established a divide between yourself and your leader due to your perceived lack of leadership on their part. The simple remedy is to open the lines of communication and make them aware of your needs and desires
  • Perhaps your leader just forgot or neglected to think of you and all they need is a friendly reminder to engage
  • Lastly, perhaps you’ve permitted the deficiency long enough and you should have already left

Many people in this world believe life should be fair. You give 50% and I’ll give 50%. That would work great had it not been for us all being flawed humans. In reality, it is 100% your responsibility and 100% their responsibility. You give your everything and expect nothing. With this mentality in mind, you realize your perceived lack of leadership is on your shoulders regardless of your role.

Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?