Evolution of a Hater-Leader
Stop hating on people.
You may protest, “I don’t hate on people.” Technically, you’re probably right. You don’t literally hate your teammates. But, you do something that feels like hate.
Leaders who focus on fixing people feel like haters to the people they’re trying to fix – their victims.
When you think someone is inadequate, your help doesn’t help. Being fixed by someone who believes there’s something wrong with you feels like rejection.
Rejection feels like hate. Respect feels like love.
Evolution of a hater-leader:
You didn’t wake up hating on your teammates. Hating quietly sneaks up on leaders who focus on weaknesses, problems, and failure.
Control your focus because your focus controls you.
Power of focus:
- Focus on inadequacy to create inferiority.
- Focus on solutions to become a problem-solver.
- Focus on opportunity to be useful.
- Focus on the weaknesses of others to become a fixer.
- Focus on strengths to develop and enjoy the competency of others.
- Focus on problems to become negative.
- Focus on learning to grow wise.
- Focus on progress to generate energy.
- Focus on people to become a people-person.
- Focus on gaining power to make others feel weak.
Look for problems and you’ll find them. You find what you seek and go where you look. You hate failure and weakness so you step in to fix them. Before you know it, hating seems like helping.
What do the words you say to others reveal about your focus?
Become a leader who develops people by loving on strengths more than hating on weaknesses. Haters focus on fixing. Developers focus on enhancing capacity and leveraging strengths.
Create environments where people boldly take the bull by the horns. Stop hating on weaknesses. Love on talent.
How might leaders focus more on developing strengths than fixing weaknesses?
When a person needs encouragement and they get criticism, it can open opportunity for some poor reactions and responses (and unchecked those can multiply).
Sometimes a sensitive heart is your best tool..
Years ago one of my key people came in on a Monday morning very “down in the mouth” when I asked what was wrong he began to tell me of a heated argument he had with his wife. He expected me to take a side, I did not.. I turned to him and said “go home and resolve these issues with your wife.. you’ll never do good work here when you are in turmoil elsewhere in your life.”
It was the right solution –
Wow! (That’s all I can say.) What a great story.
My-o-my Dan Rockwell;
Your timing and choice of topics today is uncanny and ‘so’ relevant to what Brent and I have been tasked with. As well, we both have been on the ‘uncomfortable’ side of the ‘Hateful-Leader’. I must say though the time and effort we’ve been putting into our project over the past three years is coming together even better than we had imagined. The fact that both of us receive little to no support locally has not dissuaded us from our vision and mission. Luckily for the both of us though we enjoy total support from the top, “the very tip top.” I have authored four different course topics to date, Team Building, Identifying (Go-2-People), Reinforcing Positive Behavior, and Decision Making & Problem Solving. Dan you would be so proud, I cannot wait till the new lesson plan is complete and signed into practice. I know I speak for Brent when I say this; “we are both ‘so’ humbled that we were chosen to redesign the Leadership Development Training Programs for 16,000+ employee’s.
Many warned me, and I was already aware there would be a good chance envy, animosity, jealousy, and hurt feelings would cause the both of us so much hate and discontent. Never have I had a target on my back for doing such a good thing. Many have suggested I let it go for the sake of my health, that the pressure and negativity I must constantly deflect is taking it’s toll. Their pleas are well intentioned but I have no intention of slowing down or walking away.
I am simply so thrilled to be authoring a Character-Based Leadership Development Training Program.
Now, THE BIG QUESTION, “how the heck do you get the haters to B A C K O F F???’
This may just be a question better pondered over Breakfast my friend.
Thanks SGT. It seems that resistance is normal in most organizations. Change is slow.
Congratulations on making a difference in such an important area.
What options do you have other than doing what you think is right. Influencing as best you can. Working with people who share your values. Keeping everyone in the loop as much as possible. Keep making progress.
Organizations change slowly. Best wishes.
PS Next time you’re in my neck of the woods, give me a call.
Good timing for me. Thanks for sharing.
Best for the journey, PA! 🙂
I get and completely agree with your point about the futility of a “hateful” approach to leadership, and like many others I suffered under such treatment in years past. On the other hand, this “you’re just a hater” mentality toward leaders has gotten out of hand in many quarters. If you supervise a typical group of twenty-somethings and you dare to point out a mistake or performance shortfall, you are likely to be labeled a “hater” (as in “haters gonna hate”) in short order, no matter how thoughtful, positive and sensitive your approach. It has happened to me and others I know, in a variety of organizations. It seems to be part of the culture. While the focus (or foci as your ten points aptly point out) of leadership must be on developing strength rather than “fixing” people, each successful individual has to take ownership of fixing (or overcoming) their own weaknesses, so helping people recognize those weaknesses and a path to improvement is not “hating” in my book, although some people seem to think so. Thanks for yet another thoughtful post!
Thanks Jim. You bring an important voice to this conversation. Bringing up challenges and problems with a strength based – solution centric approach isn’t hating. It’s kindness.
Leaders deal with real issues. Glad you dropped in.
When a team’s historic form inhibits it current function, pointing out its strengths as a way to move to more relevant and sustainable activity can feel like “fixing” to the team, in spite of the leader’s good intentions. “When you think someone is inadequate, your help doesn’t help.” If the team is okay with just being okay, even the leader’s encouragement to grow can be threatening, they hear “the team is not good enough.” When you hear “we’ve never done it this way before” it’s wise to focus on listening to the team’s dreams and finding a way to celebrate the small steps towards them as the vision for new ways to work together develops.
Thanks cb… Leaders challenge the status quo. What I’ve seen aligns with your suggestion. Listen to dreams and celebrate small steps.
Perhaps giving up on the magic bullet is something that helps the process.
Also, great timing for me as well! I just had part of my job taken away and given to another employee because of trying to fix. Thanks so much for the reminder of focus!
Thanks Jeremy. You have my best for the journey. You seem like a person who will keep moving forward.
I am careful, when approaching a trouble spot in a company, to focus on the process and not the people. It doesn’t always work–some people are very proud of their dysfunctional processes and identify with them. They see an effort to make positive change as a personal attack. I wish I had a “and this is how I learned to deal with it” story to tell, but in truth, this is what trips me up and keeps me failing at my mission. I have no idea what to do once my change efforts become personal. My coping method up until now has been to ask to be moved to another assignment. That pretty much killed my career. I only know how to make positive change when the team agrees that a change is in order.
So Dan, when someone has gone off course how do you bring them back without sounding hateful?
Thanks Scott. Great question. I think the process begins with them. What do they want for themselves and the organization. In other words, we don’t impose our expectations on others as much as help people find their own passion.
In the end, if their passion doesn’t align with the organization it’s time to refocus, find a new role within the organization, or move on. I’d work hard to help people find their passion within the organization.
The bottom line is that it’s never kind or useful to let people remain off course.
Great seeing you Dunk. When things get personal it’s really tough. I don’t blame you for pulling back.
Your comment reminded me of Bob Burg’s book, Adversaries to Allies. I wonder if it might be useful.
Focusing on their strengths tends to make them feel accomplished, showing that we pay attention to them! Fixing their weakness should be in a joint effort to educate and facilitate them to their highest level. Sit in with them and take the course, acknowledge you learned something too. Ask them what else could help them attain the position they seek if that is their desired ambition?
Thanks Tim. The term “partnership” jumped into my mind as I read your comment. When it’s time to deal with performance issues, make it a partnership. It seems the partnership word may be central to the difference between a hater and a lover. (Using the terms metaphorically of course.) Cheers
Dan, Partnership, very much so,all for one, and one for all!
Dan, how do you balance this with accountability? For example, Someone who really works hard at just meeting expectations and at the same time are on break when you need them most? But could do so much more to help and support their team.
Thanks JT. That’s a great question. I think accountability is something we impose on ourselves. Calling people to step up is part of the process, but people have to listen to the call.
Your comment is very specific. I wonder about having specific conversations about expectations. Might that be helpful?
Thanks so much for jumping in.
I agree a conversation is the next step.
Such a powerful statement, “Haters focus on fixing. Developers focus on enhancing capacity and leveraging strengths.” This is the perfect statement to describe this post. It is a trap that many managers fall into without even realizing it. I was a hater with the noblest intentions. A great coach, leadership team, and awesome team taught me a new and better way.