How to Become a Powerless Leader

In high school I overheard some adults talk about leadership.  It was repulsive.  The words “power” and “ego” would have fit right in.  In the years since I’ve learned something about true leadership: It’s rare.  Like the demotivator reads:  “Leaders are like Eagles. We don’t have either of them.”  Here are some hints on becoming a *REAL* leader. 

 1) Grab a Vision – It doesn’t have to be original with you, but it has to be significant and you have to believe in it.  Work on it.  Develop it.  Stick with it.  Great leaders use momentum to build their vision.  The clarity of a real leader’s vision grows with time.

 2) Carry the Cost – People won’t follow a leader who doesn’t invest in a vision.  Not just money, but time, energy and commitment.  Great leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela were willing to rot in jail rather than compromise on their vision.  People don’t want to be “used” by some ego deprived flunky, but they will flock to committed leaders who will pay the cost of leading the charge for change. 

 3) Share the Reward – The reward of leadership is not power, but a fulfilled vision.  Thanking followers can erode power, but popularizes the vision.  Reward followers as often (and publically) as possible.

Following these steps will put you well on the road to becoming a powerless leader.  A leader people follow because they want to, not because they have to. 

The Irony: Powerless leaders are never short of power.
 

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4 Responses to “How to Become a Powerless Leader”

  1. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    […] How to Become a Powerless Leader In high school I overheard some adults talk about leadership.  It was repulsive.  The words “power” and […] […]

  2. Is Leadership a Programming Skill? « Jeff’s Post Says:

    […] Leadership a Programming Skill? The other day I posted an article on leadership to programming.reddit.com.  Within minutes it had been voted down.  The article was popular […]

  3. David Says:

    This kind of leadership is for nazis. I don’t want some f—- with a vision I want rational thought, sensible goals viable plans

  4. jeffspost Says:

    David: Satisfying #2 requires that the leader get real. Standing and talking about it isn’t investing in a vision. Many leaders fail when it comes to #2 and as you say that makes a very dangerous leader

    A good example of #2 in action is Bill Gates leadership at Microsoft. Whether or not you agree with the business practices of Microsoft (I don’t) his leadership techniques are of interest. He was definitely grounded in reality. He wrote a lot of earliest Microsoft code and was deeply involved in technology decisions for many years. Microsoft may not have been very innovative, but you have to grant that under his leadership they were extremely pragmatic. (Which is something that can not be said of most of Microsoft’s competitors.)

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