the chief, the monk and the bull
WHO remembers the Monk who sold his Ferrari? I do, and I distinctly remember how the protagonist of the story got off the ship and washed his hands of his legal career, gave up his luxury home, his naughty life (his Ferrari) and literally disappeared. . All because it was too much. The book is set after Julian suffered a heart attack from the magma of stress in his chest and decided, drastically and quite dramatically, to change his life.
And so, this kind of story of tragedy turned triumph has long since become the badge of honor in our leadership arena. The story goes like this every time: you work hard, you sacrifice everything, you make money, you lose yourself, you lose your friends, you destroy relationships, you work harder, you stress, you check , you break, you get sick, you get sick again, you die orâ¦ you become a monk. And then – you write a book – and boom, you’re back in the Heroes’ Seat.
How is this success? Besides, how is this leadership?
Well, frankly it isn’t and it needs to be rewritten and redefined.
This sacrificial narrative is a red flag. It is fast becoming our benchmark for leadership which unfortunately sets a harsh example for newbie job seekers and career climbers.
Our first-time job seekers and middle management players are concerned about the dreaded fate of a leader‘s title. They are too afraid to “lead” or, God forbid, to be recognized as a leader, for fear of having to undergo a similar path thanks to their record KPIs. Ironic?
As a result, employees avoid “too much” responsibility. They don’t show themselves enough; they are not advancing enough; they leave the âbig stuffâ to the big guns at the top of the hierarchy, just because they’re afraid. And why shouldn’t they be, when the acquisition of the title of “leader” in a company comes with a good paycheck, but also with 25 doctor’s bills and a one-way ticket. isolation in the Himalayas.
This is a serious concern for the future of leadership in our organizations. By their own admission, the ‘up and coming’ cohort of employees is quickly turning into a ‘scared and ghost’ cohort; they change their minds throughout the climb, or at worst, stay at entry level, because they think it’s safer – and probably wiser – to stay in the shadows than to shine in the room meeting.
As business owners, we need to change the language of leadership. The example we lead by is the result we sow – which is why the majority of climbers believe leadership titles are only reserved for the smartest, toughest, bravest, and ruthless (and the most qualified); those who can handle the heat – and heart attacks. This is simply not true, and we need to stop doing it.
As leaders today, our only hope for an empowered generation of career hunters and climbers is to rewrite the meaning of leadership in our organizations. First for ourselves, then for our people.
We’re so focused on what we need to lead that we lose sight of what it really feels like to step into a higher role. It shouldn’t be about what you need to be a leader anymore, but rather what you don’t need to be a leader, it will change history.
Let’s make the future of our workforce a kindness and rewrite the leadership book. Let’s get rid of the misconceptions about the Top Dog Seat with a make or die price. Leadership is not that. It is not the story of the lawyer or the story of the monk. On the contrary: it is our history. From CEO to cashier, the story of leadership doesn’t start with title and end in intensive care. It begins and ends with corporate culture – and it’s a story that belongs to all of us.
Teaching the history of leadership:
Four things your people don’t have to be …
You don’t need a title to be a leader
The truth is, as a career hungry company, we’re too stuck on the headlines. The employee is tricked into believing that their title sets expectations. The lower the pay level or the title, the lower the expectations, the easier it becomes not to lead. Many first-time job seekers resist the urge to climb in order to avoid leadership expectations. This kind of fear leads to complacency and complacency is dangerous in any business.
History change: Make leadership a culture, not a title. Regardless of the job description, everyone is a leader and is committed to lead.
Since when was it a prerequisite to have âBurn Out Experienceâ on your CV? Never. Many managers, CEOs, CFOs and CEOs have adopted the burn and break leadership method as a way to prove that they are worthy of their âtitleâ. Bad idea. Leading, and leading authentically, requires flames of energy and enthusiasm. Adopt a method of rest and recovery among your leaders and the idea that a healthy life develops a healthy leader.
You don’t have to be ruthless to be a leader.
Did you know that the volunteer industry in Australia, for example, is considered one of the most influential groups in the economy? Made. This is what leadership looks like. It doesn’t need to be accompanied by dog-eating dog behavior. It doesn’t come with a long-drawn title either. It is accompanied by a “doing”, a way of being. And another thing that comes with it – empathy.
Story Change: Teach your people that leadership isn’t like the devil wears Prada. It doesn’t have to be ugly and terrifying – where your staff are shaking in their boots just to breathe. Leadership is not leadership if it is surrounded by a power play; erase the stigma of the âA-hole leader archetypeâ; that pulls from the hip and just pushes the bottom line. Leadership is leadership when it listens and cares; when it is enveloped in integrity and authenticity.
You don’t have to become a monk and say that you were once a chief.
What if we developed our leaders to lead by example, not by drama. What if we wrote books about supervisors who had happy families and spent quality time with their children while still being able to do their jobs, on time and with excellence? Do this, and your employees will undoubtedly feel safer and fuller as they climb the ladder rather than jumping from the bottom.
Kerry Morris is the Managing Director of the recruitment and workforce services agency, Tower Group.
* The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the IOL or the titles sites.