When I was a little girl, I always looked up to my dad. To me, my dad was the greatest dad that ever lived. He still is. However, what made my dad so special is that he seemed to live by the values, and the morals that he taught me and my sisters. As us girls grew up, we look back at memories, and cherish some of those times were dad helped steer us in the right direction. My dad was a great leader. He still is.
Many leaders are like my dad. Not only do they want the people they lead to go in the direction that they envision for them, they also want that direction for themselves. Leaders should place themselves sacrificially in front of whom they lead, and be the example for which others will base their journey upon.
At times, some leaders might go astray. Sometimes life places leaders in predicaments in which they experience weaknesses. This in turn makes leaders vulnerable and open to steering themselves off-course. This is dangerous, because it leaves the leader in a position of doing their own thing. Here are some of the dangers a leader might experience from doing their own thing:
You will lead people the wrong direction
Sometimes leaders are out for selfish gain. This will never produce a great outcome, especially when the livelihoods of people are at stake. Perhaps a severe example of this would be Jim Jones. This religious cult leader ultimately lead people to their deaths. I’m sure death isn’t what you intended for those that follow you, however as leaders we need to ensure that we are leading with integrity, and have our morals and values intact.
You step over invaluable people
Your character goes a long way as a leader. If you lead by an iron fist, or have a harsh approach, people might find it hard following you. Steve Jobs, although a great visionary, had a questionable character. Even now after his death, his character of being a bully is being questioned. If you choose to lead, check your character and attitude, so that you don’t limit those that follow you.
You wreck business relationships
Sometimes the proof is in the pudding. Wanting to close a particular business deal, and invite the clients to come to your office. Make sure that you are on your best behavior. Many times organizations want to do business with leaders that parallel with their same morals and values. If they see you treating your employees sub par, then they might just pull the contract from under your feet.
You find yourself in the wrong position
Have you ever slept in the wrong position for a long time, and woke up with a pain you couldn’t get rid of? This is how leadership looks when not done effectively. Continued leadership on the wrong road will lead you to a remote destination. You will look around and wonder “how did I get here?”. If you find yourself in this place, turn around and go back.
You can destroy an organization
If you don’t turn around in enough time, you might find that the people that you lead, and leaving. The organization that you run isn’t thriving as it used to. This is very dangerous because likely the only way that it could be fixed is serious intervention or replacement of your position.
Even though some of these examples may seem harsh, they are real. Leading is serious business, and the lack there of can have devastating consequences. If you are a leader, think very hard before you choose to think only of yourself and let everything all go, you might end up leading more then yourself down the rabbit hole.
Photo credit: JJ via Flickr