7 Ways Immature Leaders Grow Up
Everyone’s been hurt by leaders who need to grow up.
Immature leaders always destroy relationships, hamper performance, and increase frustration.
Poor performance is often a matter of immaturity, not lack of knowledge.
- Drain energy. Parents with newborns are exhausted.
- Feel picked on, unappreciated, and misunderstood.
- Chase shiny objects and give up quickly.
- Love to prove they’re right.
- Don’t know what really matters.
- Love the spotlight. Won’t share.
- Throw tantrums when they don’t get their way.
- Don’t care what people think. They’re all about self-expression to the exclusion of others.
- Need to please and be liked. Success requires pleasing others in some way. But, the need to please destroys leadership.
- Can’t make the tough call and show compassion at the same time.
- Refuse to listen.
- Drift without focus and wander without direction.
- Become Inconsistent under stress and crumble under pressure.
- Succumb to peer-pressure.
- Trample on others.
- Believe comfort and ease are success.
7 ways to grow up:
- Press through the storm rather than running from it. Persistence during turbulence paves the path to maturity. Protecting people from turbulence prolongs immaturity.
- Believe you have something to offer. Mature leaders, like mature plants, provide sustenance for others and seeds for next year.
- Give yourself to something bigger than yourself. J. D. Salinger wrote, “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
- Stop talking about yourself all the time.
- Focus on action. If you can’t describe it in behavioral terms, you don’t know what you are talking about.
- Tell yourself you don’t know even when you think you do.
- Learn from mature leaders who display qualities you admire. Ask, “How did you develop _______?”
Which quality of an immature leader is most deadly?
How is maturity developed?
*This is the “I” installment of the dictionary for leaders.
What other words that begin with “I” relate to successful leadership?
Good one. Cute! (Is that a baby picture of Dan?)
Growing up is good, but continue to have FUN while doing it.
Thanks for the share.
Thanks Dr. Scott. I wish I was that cute. I get images from morgueFile.com … 🙂
Yes, I’m already getting some concern that being mature and having fun are mutually exclusive. FUN rocks!
Love this Dan! I appreciate your concrete insights here on how to be more mature. I believe discipline is a key part of effective leadership, which includes self-restraint.
Thanks Paul. “Self-restraint” in a world that prizes “self-expression” feels like a dirty word. One I think we need more of. 🙂
This post resonates for me, and perhaps I am sometimes guilty of immaturity. I read it and think about the smugness associated with the leader you describe. My mentors are living humbly for a cause, and are my constant inspiration
Thanks Donna. I see myself on the immature list sometimes. It was easy to write, I just thought about some of the immature things I do.
Mentors are major factors in the maturation process!
Intuition seems like a good “I” letter for successful leaders.
Thanks Jeff. good one!
Dan, what a magnificent quote by J.D. Salinger–author of the wonderful book: Catcher in the Rye. The main character in his book is Holden Caulfield, who at the age of 17 became a generation’s logo for alienation and rebellion.
Holden didn’t always see clearly and he wore his alienation as a shield. “Growing up” didn’t strike him as a viable pursuit, and down under his cynicism, Holden feared entry into the world of adults, a world of “phonies” and “hypocrites” as he saw it. In his dream, he is the “catcher” in a golden field of rye, saving little children from dropping off a cliff. For Salinger, holding onto innocence and integrity was not only critical, but should be one’s lifelong reason for not growing up.
Unfortunately, what Holden did not envision was how no horse gets anywhere until it is harnessed. No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined. This requires leadership, and at the pinnacle—a “mature” leader.
I believe there’s a point when some managers and leaders are stuck in the past (like depression), while others are too focused on the future (like anxiety), and thus
are unable to deal with the present. They see the landscapes facing them as too much to handle: Relationships, money, success, failure, emotions, personal development, professional ups and downs, competition, marriage and family, etc. What they ultimately learn, however, is not to search for new landscapes–rather to see with “new eyes.”
What we all learn, ultimately, is we become mature when we free ourselves from anger, fear, guilt, and being judged, blamed and disbelieved. While J.D. Salinger didn’t say this per se, Catcher in the Rye to me is about assimilated and unassimilated persons. An assimilated person–like a mature leader–appreciates the best of things and works to diminish flaws. An unassimilated person is blinded by the worst of things and works to continue their vision of what is.
Thanks Books. The language of assimilation is powerful to me. It falls in the broader bucket of connecting.
Also, taking the track of freeing ourselves from things as the path to maturity is essential. As we free ourselves from being defined by others the authentic self begins to stretch it’s legs.
I suppose I am connecting authenticity with maturity and I’m not sure it always connects. Thanks for something to think about.
Most deadly? I’d say ignorance. (And we’ve ALL been there at some level in our lives)
More pointedly though…ignorance on issues that we don’t know how to be curious about and examine to determine if things are true or not. Or the ignorance that stems from confusing book knowledge (theory) with actually practice and experience.
I touched on this in the comments section of my last post on trust when for ease of understanding, I said that many like to confuse with reading books with becoming experts on a subject. And I said I don’t want someone who’s only read a book about flying planes to be my pilot. I want someone who has been trained and has REAL experience! I also said that I don’t want someone who’s only read about surgery to operate on me. I want a TRAINED and QUALIFIED surgeon to do that.
And somehow, we seem to promote ‘leaders’ in all walks of life who believe that reading a book about a subject magically turns us all into experts. And that is how many people choose to lead in life! I’ve read this book. I’m not the expert on the subject. So now I’m going to paraphrase everything I’ve read out of this book (which is not based on personal experience and winds up being MIS-applied in teachings because those teaching it outside of the original author don’t actually have any REAL experience!) << Example.
We all need to stop doing that if that's what's going on. Just as I would not EVER claim to be an expert entrepreneur because that's not where the wealth of my experience exists, others need to quit claiming to be experts in areas they don't have any REAL experience. Limited to the books they read, theory, and stealing from the experts.
Never confuse reading with actual experience.
Thanks Samantha. Perhaps experience transforms reading. There is a knowledge that comes from books and one that comes from hands and feet. Having both seems best.
Agreed. Just as reading fantasy like The Hobbit or Dune can ignite our imagination, it can also fuel innovation. I’m referring strictly to the dilemma of people who confuse reading about something as HAVING legit experience.
In nursing, I had to read a ton of science and theoretical principles, learn chemical formulas and equations, and all about anatomy and physiology, and microorganisms before I even put my real hands on a patient in practice. In that context, our books are absolutely necessary but the point I was making still applies.
Reading books as a student nurse didn’t qualify me to BE a nurse. No, I had to put in the time and practice with REAL patients and I had to be OBSERVED administering all aspects of care to those patients by qualified people before I could be considered a valid nurse.
We give unqualified people too much power too early. It’s like sending a student nurse in to lead a hospital…. no first hand on experience…just the books..
It wouldn’t fly!
To elaborate on #9: Trying to please everyone will only show that you have a firm foundation on vision. Leaders absolutely must be tenacious in their purpose. If they’re constantly shifting to appease others, they’re ultimately leading to nowhere.
Thanks Alex. It seems the more we please some the more we may displease others. One things is sure, we can’t please all the people all the time.
Found this relevant quote: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby
Great reminder that growing up is a process that takes place over time — with this kind of coaching for the “desired outcomes” we can grow up to be very effective. Thanks for the reminders — saw myself in some of the descriptors and also saw my clients’ managers as well.
Thanks jkaeo. I saw myself there as well.
Excellent Dan!!! 😉
When leaders love to please and want somebody to please them, it becomes deadly behavior. This starts when leaders lack competence and wisdom. They believe in doing so, they will get what they want. They do not have clear understanding of leadership. They start becoming weak. They do not want to listen anything against them. And that is the reason why they please everyone. By doing this, they mask their weaknesses. They ultimately become immature. When they understand and stop doing this, they become mature.
I for leadership is “Intention”. Leaders should question their intention. They should have right intention in all activities. They should not have hidden intention. When they do that, they are known as manipulators. Though they may claim, they are leaders, but they are not.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. Mature leaders are willing to listen to the hard stuff, even invite it. Ouch!
Thanks Dan, I work with family businesses, the last hideout of the immature in far too many cases. But, as you say, mentoring is the key. I went through it all in our business and having a wise mentor saved my butt!
Thanks mentor. I can see where family businesses might propagate immaturity when they protect peoples feelings rather than confronting the hard truth. When we spare each other’s feelings we prolong the pain.
All the points stated best describe immature leaders. By the time they are found out, it is late and damage is already done. It is unfortunate that these type of leaders do not want to learn, self introspect and rectify themselves. Power blinds them and absolute power corrupts them.
Two “I” – I especially like when I think of growing.
Inspiration. -In everyday language, an inspiration denotes a creative idea, a positive Inspiration; this is the clever I attributed to what has often involve inflation. Depth psychology sees inspiration as an intra-psychic process, as the action of unconscious forces on the self-consciousness (Revelation). Negative complexes (archaic: demons) and restorative fantasies (divine revelation) affect us here the ego. Since the incident forces are energetically highly charged, they fascinate the mind and give this the eerie feeling of being haunted by divine powers (Vision).
But we must believe in the gifts of the Spirit and then to trust ourselves. Inspiration comes from within ourselves, when we are open in one moment of relaxation and detachment, and can receive. These are magical moments that we can experience.
Individuation. – is a self-becoming, self-development, self-unfolding of the human personality in the conscious recording of as many unconscious and conscious components that constitute the personality. One of the basic conditions of individuation heard that the self is understood as an expression of wholeness, so as completeness of personality rather than perfection or perfection. The preservation of the tension of opposites between light and dark, healthy and sick, adult and childlike, collectively and individually is crucial, otherwise the figure would be forced into a one-sided pattern that impedes the free flow of energy.
Although the self-awareness of great importance for the individuation it is not primarily concerned with ego development, but the realization of the wholeness of the self. “But I keep seeing that the Individuationsprozes confused with the awareness of the ego and thus the ego is identified with the self, from which of course a hopeless confusion arises. Because so is the individuation naked egocentrism and auto-eroticism. However, the self realizes infinitely more in it than just a I: it is also the or the other as I individuation does not exclude the world, but one (according to Jung)..
A development process that has the experience of wholeness of life for goals and this wholeness is defined as the sum of all possible opposites can never be without regard to and without relevance for society. Individuation and socialization are not contradictory but in constant interaction is exploiting dividend processes. Individuation is possible at each stage within an interplay between the individual, fellow human, society and environment.
Therefore, any real progress in the individuation process is always also a contribution to society and evolution.
Individuation is bound to social life and social responsibility and also to a responsible work on individual differences: self-realization of man is based on the integration of collective units such as individual characteristics.
The inlets on the individuation can give life meaning and fullness of life, because the relationship with the self causes contact with the source, the creative life.
The resulting sense of life is a dynamic process according to the life constantly changing and taking on different forms in every age. In individuation, which is an archetypal, ie a general human process, man is confronted with the fundamental questions of life and the human condition.
This includes finding at any age depending on the task challenge an individual response: Although to be man or woman is collective, but the very nature requires a personal design.
The same applies to the task of being a young or old person. These tasks have done in ownership and may no external, social or ideological institution or authority be left. From the sum of the individual individual responses to the various challenges the individual personality arises as individuated personality. The Individuated no different from his fellows by special, ideal human qualities – he feels the contrary, in particularly deep way affiliated with them – but perhaps has the advantage of a slightly larger awareness and self-responsibility especially regarding their own human, all-too-human and own downsides (Shadow).
The belief in themselves – can want us grow – among other noble motivations
Here, one’s own will to grow joins. The further development is a way of self-determination
and self-responsibility. To be ready – to always want to develop themselves – to go more to learn about our own horizons. This information can also be assumed.
Mentors, teachers and coaches are like real gold.
Inspiration lives from being able to open up to new – and be inspired!
You inspire Dan. .-) Laughing. Best Greetings Beate
Great post Dan. I’ve met many leaders who are in the position to shine and feel good about themselves, and it’s sometimes not that productive for the organisation they lead.
Finally, a terrible “I” of the negative way – as I do not want to be or to grow!
Ignorance – in the sense of arrogance, blindness and rigidity.
Ignorance is a devil – to believe only my opinion would be the non plus ultra.
Ignorance is usually not alone – it connects with overconfidence
and usually with arrogance and narcissism and blindness.
Tyrants and Power Horny doubt deeply at their own character and try to compensate for this deficiency by manipulation. Mentally they are like a “pubescent boy or girl” and as such always ready to chase the dream of conquest by a missing person. In either form, he loves only himself and his triumph over others. As a narcissist he indulges only their own pleasure principle. He lacks the deeper self, and be insecure I can not find its counterpart. His incompleteness feeling – and his inferiority complex produce a gallows humor that can be increased up to the unbridled hatred of the others with him.
Such people often use their charm to beguile order, but if the primary objective is reached, the house of cards collapses or interest expires.
Ignorance is in my opinion a dangerous form of stupidity, superiority and emotional coldness.-)
Well written … I’ve seen my share of poor leadership.. its frustrating not only for the recipient but for those observing. Leadership are you listening???
Poor leadership creates confusion, fear, ambiguity and doubt. Poor advise creates the same outcomes.
Growth takes time and decision making is important. Sometimes you have to ask yourself: are my decisions CONSTRUCTIVe. or DESTRUCTIVE.
Dan – I have a question that fits this topic!
When we are unjustly condemned very personally to be assessed rather than neutral – as you unleash this attack is best? And how to turn it objectively in a positive discourse. In an unwarranted personal opinion / harassment (devaluation) you will quickly feel powerless to be exposed to this attack or even fainted? Speechlessness is an effect or having to feel overwhelmed – by negative emotions such as anger or sadness.
How to meet a silence that is meant to be derogatory? Is there “judgment-breaker” that can arouse or awaken others? How would you respond to a personal attack, when you realize
he is out of envy and jealousy or lesser self-confidence or unawareness, perhaps even
out of malice?
Maybe you have a suggestion? Thank you in advance – Dan.
I hope that does not bother you here, but leads to a supplement.
I am a little confused about this term witch seems to become to large,to overrelated.I wonder if it is about a Leader in this article or it is about someone who has been promoted.I had identificated the last one.So maybe the title was better something like….How the new promoted need to grow to be leader….with a little amendament that it is about the one who is promoted for the first time,because if this one does the same mistakes every time is promoted…Is just one HR error.
List of the weak areas is great.List of the advices is real and almost permanent.
Great post, great comments…gleaming.
I think another “I” word for how maturity is developed would be the word “introspection” or being “introspective”.
By definition it is: the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.
I believe that our ability to be self-aware is key to our continual development as leaders. If I cannot ask myself tough questions about my own emotional health, then I certainly won’t let anyone else. Self deception is the most dangerous form of deception because what we believe about ourselves will greatly effect our ability to develop as leaders. For example: if I believe I’m always right then I most likely struggle with pride. Pride leads to arrogance, and arrogance leads to unteachability.
When we are willing to do the hard work within ourselves, it becomes the key that allows others to have a voice in our lives as well.
Just my two cents! Great post!
As a hopeful future young leader I was drawn to this article. Thank you for sharing!! It will come in handy.