Ever known anyone who’s been promoted to a leadership position? They learned all the correct behaviors, they read all the right books, they attended all the required seminars, and they are stressed, unhappy, and thinking seriously about early retirement? Yeah, me, too. Because most organizations’ career progression paths push employees toward a leadership position, those who have neither the gifting nor the inclination to be a leader are forced into it. It’s the only way they can be promoted and bring home more cash. They are now unhappy. Their people are unhappy because working for someone who isn’t a leader is painful at best.
It is time to be kind and consider the idea that not everyone is or can be a leader. We should not expect everyone to want to be a leader. We should not assume that learning a set of behaviors makes someone a leader.
Leaders need to encourage those who do not have the gift of leadership into career paths that do not require them to become something they are not and do not wish to be. This will take some creativity. The proper environment (with proper leadership) fertilizes creativity. This can be done, and done well.
Leader, Remember: you are not like the others, and you are not better than the others. Be compassionate. Be real. Focus on the truth. Love on those who are not like you. That is your responsibility, and your calling.
Everyone else: Relax – You are Not A Leader! Your contributions and gifts are cherished more than you know. You are desperately needed.
For leaders and non-leaders alike, Dan Cathy (President of Chick-Fil-A) has an excellent four-minute interview with Seth Godin (author of Tribes and who blogs at http://sethgodin.com) about success. When we consider our talents and gifts, and determine to resist being pushed into a position for which we have no desire and are not qualified, defining what success is and isn’t is both helpful and necessary.
Find Dan and Seth talking under the lights here: http://cathyfamily.com/resources/videos/chick-fil-a-leadercast-conversations-seth-godin.aspx.