Four Beliefs of Dingbat Leaders
There are smart leaders, stupid leaders, and then there are dingbat leaders.
Leadership Freak definition of dingbat:
A ‘dingbat’ is a smart person doing something stupid.*
Smart people do stupid things.
You forget that there’s another step on the stairs and end up breaking your favorite coffee cup. You realize that it’s useful to turn the key to ‘on’ before pulling the starter chord. The car runs out of gas because you’re trying to see how far it can go after the gauge indicates empty.
Dingbat beliefs of smart leaders:
#1. The belief that strengths in one area mean you’re good in many areas makes you a dingbat leader.
A strength is something that places you in the 90th percentile. You don’t have very many. Just because you’re good with people doesn’t mean you’re good at getting things done.
#2. The belief that success is transferable makes you a dingbat leader.
Success is about the team around you. When you hire a high performer, they often stumble because their success was about the team they left behind.
#3. The belief that high performing individuals make good managers makes you a dingbat leader.
Make a list of the qualities of the best boss you ever had. Beside the ‘best boss’ list make a list of the qualities of the best employee you ever had. Do you see the difference?
The best boss has emotional intelligence. The best employees have technical skill.
#4. The belief that your strength is the ‘right’ strength makes you a dingbat leader.
Make a list of all the successful leaders you can recall, famous or obscure. Record their outstanding quality beside each name. Are they all different from each other?
Bonus: The belief that you are exempt from dingbattiness makes you a dangerous dingbat leader.
What are some dingbat beliefs or behaviors that smart leaders fall into?
* Urban Dictionary definition of dingbat
I have to continue to monitor my “dingbat” meter whether its as a leader, follower, friend, husband, father and soon to be grandfather. Without that “dingbat” meter I would be lost and not have a measure of saneness guiding me each day. Long live the “dingbat” meter and may it continue to guide my steps.
Thanks Roger! Love the expression “dingbat meter.” In our house, laughter is connected to the use of dingbat. Maybe it’s a little like slapping yourself on the forehead and exclaiming, “Doh!”
I think I need to start using your dingbat meter 🙂
would that be a dingometer?
Geez, I think you watched to much “Archie Bunker” as Edith took the brunt of it!
I believe the “Dingbat Leaders” feel they know it all, when in reality considerably less as you mentioned to get to a strength level of 90%.
Life’s lesson are surely or Duh moments, perhaps merely a train of thought “gee turn the key” The signs says “push” we “pull ” etc. Nice to know the “Batmobile” has a spare seat!
LOL, thanks Tim. I had forgotten about All in the Family. What’s funny is Edith was smarter than Archie. Maybe the person calling others a ding bat needs to own their own dingbattery.
Doh!! The sign says push and we pull. OK, that’s getting personal. However, I did all the ding bat illustrations in this post. I’m still sad about breaking my favorite coffee cup.
Don’t forget the ding bat experience of wondering why you’re going somewhere.
What can I say Dad owned the TV so we watched his shows :-), purely for education of course! One phone, one TV, who would have thought were we have come from and reaching to?
Somedays we have to wonder what if?
There are a lot of dingbats out there. 🙂
I’ll never understand the reasoning of #3. I’ve seen a few scenarios were high performing individuals promoted to management and these is what I find lacking.
– have never expressed a desire for management
– have no people management skills or training even if they do want to be a manager
– the organization doesn’t provide a quality coach or mentor or in depth training on managing people within the organization
– the organization doesn’t remove at least a reasonable portion of their old job so they are free to actually people manage
– vetted the potential manager with other peer managers to seek a more comprehensive assessment before making a decision to promote
Not being smart about promotions to people management only sets the leader, the individual and the team up for failure.
Wow! Lucille, you nailed the problem of promoting high performers into management. Brilliant.
The main reason is that there is generally zero chance of advancement/promotion for a technical expert in a technical area. If you want more money, you have go management, because, hey, what real company wants to pay for technical expertise when you can pay for management?
Mitch: Interesting that you mention this aspect of advancement/promotion of a Technical expert. I’ve found in most companies yes but there are some niche companies (and I work for one) where technical expertise actually works for promotion and/or advancement both in pay and perks. I am 80% Technical and 20% managerial in my role and my colleagues and the company and the owner (who I’ve worked for for 17 years now) likes it that way. I get paid well and fairly for my efforts and my direction in the overall team. But again as in most everything I am the anomaly. Sad that it is so across most companies.
Roger, I think your experience is very rare. Generalists are preferred over specialists in most organisations.
Mitch my experience is certainly rare and I recognize it as do my co workers and the customers I deal with. I’m in such a niche industry that is vastly short of the talents I have I can leverage that each day.
The dingbat leader doesn’t realize when they cross the line and their strength becomes a weakness.
Thanks Paul. Nicely put. I failed to craft a sentence that captures the idea you bring. I’m glad you dropped in. All strengths – when taken to an extreme – have a weakness. You’re a ‘get things done’ leader, but you are a bull in a china shop, for example.
What are some dingbat beliefs or behaviors that smart leaders fall into? It is an offence to be corrected by a subordinate.
wow!! OUCH!! Thanks Gerry.
I really enjoyed your post! Dingbat leaders won’t ask for help as they don’t want to appear weak. Dingbat leaders “friend” all of their employees on Facebook!
Dingbat leaders think everyone should act and be like them. They don’t appreciate different strengths or different ways of doing things.
In the Army, we had a saying; There are 4 types of officers:
The Smart and Lazy, who make good generals because the find the best and easiest way to do things.
The Smart and Energetic, who make great staff officers.
The Dumb and Lazy, who are used for comic relief.
The Dumb and Energetic, who need to be eliminated before they can reproduce and continue to foul things up.