The “V” word for leaders – Vacuum
Nature abhors a vacuum.
My own leadership journey has taken me from a passive leader to an active leader. Passive leaders only have titles. They aren’t leading. Organizations do better when the person with the title of leader is the leader.
If you don’t lead someone else will.
Who will lead if you don’t?
*Someone who wants your job
*Someone with a hidden or personal agenda
*Someone frustrated that you aren’t leading
*Someone more passionate than you
Why aren’t you leading?
*The wrong self-image-You don’t see yourself as a leader
*Misunderstanding of leadership
*Lack of confidence
*Unwillingness to make decisions
*You have no place to go-No vision
One tip for moving from passive to active leadership
Take less time to decide.
Continue working with your leadership team. Discuss important decision but don’t beat them to death. Limit the length of the conversation by keeping on target, summarizing comments, and asking if there is anything else. After reasonable input call for a decision or make it yourself.
A word of caution
Take longer with high risk, high profile decisions. Move quickly everywhere else.
How can passive leaders become active leaders?
You’ve just read the “V” installment of the series “Alphabet for Leaders.” What other “V” words can you offer leaders?
I agree that decision turn passive leaders to active leaders. Sometimes initial impression makes one leader but that does not sustain as people come to know the reality. Leaders do not have masks, they are real and not fictitious. Dark clouds can not prevent sun, it will melt those clouds. Similarly, leadership evolves and shines.
Additionally, actions with right vision validate your leadership. Leader has to be veracious. He should be virtuous and should be value based person. Vacuum isolates or disconnects our vision, purpose and goal in life. So, bridging the vacuum turns passive to active leader.The vital and valid point for leader is to verify his or her actions and decisions with valour and overcome vanity and veil of ignorance.
The other V of leaderships are Victory and vent out. Visualize victory and vent out vague element that blocks the way.
Wow! I was laughing with glee by the time I finished reading all your V’s! You were rocking this morning. You are vociferous.
I particularly like the word valor.
I always pop in looking for what you will add to the conversation.
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I don’t disagree with anything you laid out. But I do have a question: How do you integrate active leadership with this from Lao Tzu:
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
My question is how do you create leaders if you’re always in the leader chair? When does someone else get a chance to shine?
My personal answer was to serve as a guidepost for my team when they had decisions to make. It was up to them, with my help to create success.
I have found that strong leaders create weak followers. My aim was to create a team that worked without me. I decided that I could not achieve this if I was always out front.
I hear what you are saying. Dominant leaders crush others. I love how you says, “strong leaders create weak followers.”
We both are working with some assumptions. I’m not sure, but I think one of yours is leading = dominating.
I think the servant-leader model may answer some of the issues you bring up. Sitting in the leader’s chair may mean letting others lead.
Thanks for jumping in. I’m delighted to read your comment.
Great answer. Ideally, WHEN and the leader has to make a decision it should be at the high strategy level not operational or administrative levels.
If people are truly empowered, know the objectives, have the capacity to achieve who needs the Leader? Get on with it! The times when the leader has to make quick judgements would therefore be few and far between.
I have often heard that a good leader will make a decision quickly and right or wrong take on the responsibility. If this is a regular occurence it is not leadership it is dictatorship.
Love your perspective. Empower and get on with it.
I think we may agree that the leader is always responsible even when others “get on with it.”
I’ll add a perspective to Alan’s question:
I believe an active leader helps get people to the point that they can say, “we did it ourselves.”
This can be done consistently connecting the right people with the right information (good communication), empowering people (and also knowing when to pull back a little on the reigns), equipping people (skills, information, autonomy, etc).
Now contrast the above to a passive leader – someone who never shares relevant information with his/her people, who doesn’t proactively build his/her people.
What do you think of this perspective?
Great job of bringing several ideas together.
In my own experience, passive also meant just going with what others thought. Too much of that makes leaders irrelevant.
I’m thankful you joined the conversation.
All the best,
Great post Dan.
You always leave me metaphorically stroking my chin!
How bout VISION & VALUES as V words. Leaders need to create a vision for their staff. It can be difficult. I work with a lot of people who find that company values plastered on to a plaque and stuck up on the wall behind the reception desk completely useless. Come to think about it so do I!
Values must be firmly engraved into the minds and hearts of everybody. This steers them towards the vision. No point putting it on a wall if the only people who read it are guests to the building and courier drivers.
You consistently bring values to the conversation. Thank you.
Your influence is making me think more and more about values and how everything we do needs to find it’s roots in our values.
Sadly, what’s written plaques that hang on the wall doesn’t happen in the offices down the hall.
I value your insights,
Good post, Dan.
Passive leaders, step up. Then, teach others to step up and get out of their way by stepping up again yourself.
V for vital.
Very cool expression. When we keep stepping up we get out of the way. Awesome!
Thanks for consistently dropping in.
I agree with you Dan, that strong leadership does not mean “dominating”.
The art and practice of great leadership is knowing how to ask great questions and pose challenges that inspire *others to realize the vision you set for the org.
Your post brings that to light!
Thanks for sharing your perspective. Aggressive, passive, and anywhere in between – the view of the leaders role is, shall we say interesting?
My experience confirms your perspective that vision is central to the process. I’ll add that servant-leaders find legitimate authority by aligning with the values, mission, and vision of the organizations they lead.
Bravo to you as well,
I was vexed that all the versatile verbage vanished before I could post.
Leaders need to veer from vainglorious vows.
Leaders can be a varietist and must be visible. Often seen as virtuous and certainly display valor. Always volitient and vitric in their motivation.
Usually I just sit back and enjoy the structure of your comment. This time I’m chiming in on the veering from vainglorious vows. One of the dangers leaders face is over committing. This self-defeating behavior may be built into the nature of high achievers. In the end it hinders rather than impresses a leaders effectiveness.
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