Life, Leadership and Business

Friday, 26 August 2016

AVOID being a NEEDY Leader

AVOID being a NEEDY Leader!

Leader is almost synonymous with Role Model. People look to Leaders to set an example, to lead the way. People draw strength and encouragement from leaders. So, the pressure is on the Leader to be reliable, consistent and to act with integrity.  Imagine the devastation and harm a needy leader could cause.

When a leader decides that their own worth and value is based on the position they hold, they quickly descend into a dark place that makes leadership ugly. Manipulative, controlling and praise-seeking become hallmarks of a needy leader. Even good people walk on a slippery slope that could take them into the role of a needy leader. So, how does a well-meaning leader avoid becoming needy?



In order to understand the process of turning a good leader into a needy tyrant, let’s look into the mind of an already needy leader: Needy Leaders often classify the people that surround them into two categories – Victims or Persecutors. When a leader sees people as a victim, they feed their own desire to rescue the person. Boldly stating the problem or pointing out the persecutor, the lost leader will attempt to resolve the issue on behalf of their hapless follower, thus becoming the “Rescuer”.

The needy leader becomes a “fixer” or “the problem solver” to the victim. The persecutor bears the brunt of the needy leader’s anger, as they are seen as the source of the leaders or the victim’s issues, problems and burdens. The needy leader will blame and accuse the persecutor openly and often publicly. The leader becomes a “defender” against the antagonistic persecutor.

Please understand, this “role play” is in the mind of the leader. This “drama triangle” between the three positions – Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer/Defender – is maintained by the needy leader with clever manipulative strategy and supported by dependent, co-dependent and independent personality types. The needy leader with a low self worth assumes the role of the co-dependent – needs to be needed.

How can you recognise a co-dependent or needy leader when dealing with a “victim”?

This leader will say things like:

·         “I know what you problem is, and will fix it for you?”

·         “I was good at solving your last problem”

·         “Do you need me to help you?”

·         “You will always need me to ....”

This leader will do things like:

·         Take responsibility for solving your problems

·         Take praise for solving your problems

·         Blame your lack of commitment if the problem is not solved

·         Let you and other know how they rescued you

·         Keep reminding you they were the ones that inspired and influenced you

·         Seek praise and appreciation for the good work they did in your life and the lives of others

·         Keep their sources of information a secret

·         Keep their strategy a secret
How can you recognise a co-dependent or needy leader when dealing with a “persecutor”?

Needy leaders will:

·         Blame and point fingers at the persecutor for all failures and problems

·         Blame persecutor for not being a team player

·         Manoeuvre the persecutor out of positions of influence without confronting or dealing with the real perceived problem

·         Complain to others behind the persecutor’s back

·         Link the persecutor to any conspiracies or lack of loyalty amongst the team

Other ways to spot a co-dependent leader:

·         Looks to receive praise for work well done

·         Like to blame others for work poorly done

·         Make excuses for failures instead of learning from them

·         Looks to receive the recognition for success

·         Easily forget to thank others for their contribution

·         Are intimidated by skilled people for fear of losing their position

·         Are afraid of technology to streamline the process for fear of becoming redundant

·         Will either not delegate at all, or dump all the responsibility without assigning authority

·         Don’t like to share the limelight with anyone else

·         Are focused on controlling rather than empowering

·         Become the obstacle to the teams growth – but don’t recognise it

·         Control the team by rules rather than by processes

·         Will threaten rather than inspire

·         Want to be the hero in the rescue story, and not the secret advisor in someone’s success

·         Want to be the sole inspiration to the team

·         Keeps resources a secret

The true danger for any leader is failing to spot these symptoms within themselves. Pointing fingers elsewhere to avoid taking ownership of the issues within is fatal. Self development and self improvement is key to the growth of a leader, and knowing yourself better than others know you is valuable to spotting symptoms of rot in your own leadership style. Notice it, acknowledge it, Change it, Test it and grow - are the steps to healthy leadership. Be a healthy leader.

Other Leadership Articles by John Usher:

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