Are You Creating Leaders or Followers?

In my time listening to clients, I notice a common pattern. Leaders of organisations are often caught out when they delegate leadership functions.

What is the secret to this?

How do you relinquish control without losing your good reputation? It comes down to perspective and how you create, inspire and enable your team to deliver your vision.

Here’s an example from a Founder and CEO I worked with:

“I have built this business over two decades. It runs well; I run it well. In the last two years, I have tried to hand over aspects of my business to my second in charge. He is gifted technically, yet is a disaster with people.

He is pushy and won’t listen to the staff or customers. He always gets results, but I am wondering at what cost.

Since I stepped back to let him take the reins a little, I have noticed staff morale has declined and staff turnover has increased.

I wasn’t worried at the time because revenues and profits were increasing, in fact increasing faster than I had increased the profits in the preceding two years.

Last week, a long-term customer took me out for a coffee; I thought it was a catch up. They put me on notice.

Things have changed in the last two years and competitors were spending more time with them. More time than we were spending with them. It wasn’t an ultimatum discussion, just a very professional conversation about what they wanted in the last two years and what we had said no to.

I didn’t need to look far to understand the difference and the issue—my second in charge. He had been doing everything I taught him to do—literally, exactly and in an amplified way. I created specific goals around profit at any cost and he had delivered.

The issue is me and my leadership – I had created a follower not a leader.

I knew how to lead my own organisation, I didn’t know how to create leaders and help them lead—lead in their way and maintain happy clients and employees. I have no idea what to do next. “

This is a classic case of perspective defining reality. Perspective is about your ability and awareness to operate from multiple points of view.

Perspective can be about time; location; self-orientation; language; systems or how you communicate.

Perspective allows you to elevate and transform the immediate and the impossible into the present and the possible. It is about how you react to the current situation or how you anticipate and create the future.

Your perspective can either hold you back or accelerate you and others faster than you imagined. Your perspective can be either your brake or your accelerator. Your brake and accelerator are very close to each other; it only takes a second to decide which one to use.

It’s your perspective about how you create, inspire and enable others that becomes the difference between doing the same thing every day or creating a powerful future for everyone.

“Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once a week” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Oscar Trimboli
About the author: 

Oscar Trimboli is the Head of Coaching Faculty at The Marketing Academy Australia.   His career includes executive assignments at Microsoft and Polycom.  Mr Trimboli is also the author of “Breakthrough”, published by Baker Street Press.  Follow him on Twitter.