Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Intimidation and Inspiration…

I once had a boss that couldn't lead.

He would try, but he just wasn’t cut out for it.

No one respected him.

He would try harder, but he would fail worse, not better.

He decided to lead by intimidation…

He would put pressure on people and belittle them into submission. He would make them feel so insignificant that they would curl up into the fetal position when he came around or called. He would make Chuck Norris cry.

He felt really good about himself and thought of himself as a great leader and thought that he got the best out of his team because of how he led and had control over each of the members of his team. Leaders can be a little intimidating, just because they are your boss, but not to the extent of making others feel worthless.

His team, however, hated him and never saw great successes under him. They couldn't - or maybe wouldn't - get better, because they always felt like it wasn’t good enough, and wouldn't get the need encouragement that pushed them on.

He was leading by intimidation.

During that time, I got to thinking about how to lead a team. Obviously, intimidation wasn’t the path I wanted to take, so I came up with this little quote…

“Some men lead by intimidation, other men lead by inspiration.”

What’s the difference?

You heard about the intimidator, above, so the inspiring leader has to be different, and causing change in his team with a positive impact.

I think the inspirational leader is one that takes the good in a person and makes it better.

They take the unsuccessful and push them on to greatness.

They move the person that isn’t catching on, to the person that becomes the expert.

They give the right balance of push and encouragement.

They take the disorganized and make them a detail person.

They build upon the talent of the novice to make them the next great one.

They know when to hold a person’s hand and when to let them go on their own.

They hold the bicycle behind the learner, but let them think they are riding alone.

They impact people around them, without even trying.

They change lives for the longterm, but don’t forget about short-term needs.

They are remembered for good, not for hurt.

They motivate, even when they aren’t around.

I know how I want to lead - I want to inspire - I know I’m not there yet, but my leadership will not be by intimidation - that’s the easy road. I like to take the hard road of excellence - it’s a lot more fun, during the ride, and to remember after the trip.

Lessons Learned: Some think they inspire, but don’t. Inspiration is not by accident - it’s a purposeful plan.

Thoughts: Are you an inspirer or an intimidator?


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