We all have it but most of us deny that it exist. We do things as leaders that impact on others either positively or negatively but we don't know it. Our inability to establish a work environment where people can give us honest feedback about the way we lead is making us miss golden opportunities to improve our leadership skills.
When things are not working as we envisioned them, we tend to blame it on the poor work attitude of the people we work with. We are frustrated by their lack of discipline, their noncompliance or their laziness. We wonder if we hired the wrong persons but when they go, the people we hire as replacement demonstrate the same lack of engagement. We look for interventions. We send them to those so called work attitude and values enhancement workshops or go to a team building session only to be frustrated by the lack of long term change of behavior.
It cannot be us leaders because as far as our personal assessment is concerned, we're alright. This is where we are failing. We underestimate the value of understanding our own impact on others. We think that what we know is enough and that the real problem is that others don't know and don't do enough. We often fail to recognize that others' behaviors are their reactions to our style of leading or the absence of it.
If you have been hiring talented people but can't seem to get the most from them, look at all the reasons for the lack of engagement and you will find a common factor; lack of leadership.
Leadership in this context is the ability to initiate or cope with change, it's the ability to inspire people and engage them to pursue a shared vision. When I ask managers what they think of leadership they miss this. They think leadership is about getting things done through others. I have a bit of a problem with that kind of understanding because it misconstrues that leadership is about being in control of others and to many of us controlling others is leadership, it is not.
All these leads to this question; how well are you investing in continually building your key employees skill in leading? In relation to this, how well are they understanding themselves in relation to that leadership role that they are playing? how much are they improving in the way they lead people?
Without the necessary intervention, "Leaders" will proceed in the way that they know how to proceed. Individual efforts may lead to individual improvement but there is a more effective and efficient way of building a leadership culture where leaders actively seek out opportunities to improve. That's when those responsible for organizational learning make leadership development a major agenda.