On Unicorns and Fairy Dust
I’ve rejected the “savior-leader” model but still feel pressure to be one. Savior-leaders arrive on unicorns and solve problems by sprinkling fairy dust over people and organizations. Poof! Everything is magically fixed.
Internal pressure to have answers presses me to give answers. I want to be the savior. Often I believe I have answers. Not having answers is usually better.
The “burden of knowing” – even if I don’t really know – makes it hard to keep my mouth shut.
Answers given are less useful
than answers discovered.
Expectations of others press me to provide answers. Some still believe in the savior-leader. They’re waiting for me to reach into my secret fairy dust pouch and make everything right. When leaders succumb to this pressure they create dependent relationships that weaken.
Savior-leaders inevitably crash and burn
when the fairy dust runs out.
Share techniques – let others execute. I have a suit-case full of techniques I’ve learned over the years. For example, when you explain what to do, always lead with vision – give why’s before what’s. That’s not fair dust. That’s a real-world technique that others can run with, in their own way.
The difference between savior-leaders and leaders who share techniques is authority. Everyone wins when individuals are enabled and have authority.
Rise above the savior-leader syndrome:
- Lead with more questions and fewer answers.
- Answer with – not for.
- Enable and authorize. Teach how and then release.
- Praise the accomplishments of others.
- Enable and encourage others to teach others.
How do you deal with the savior-leader syndrome?
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