All By Yourself

It’s easy to step into a new position and immediately think about all of the things YOU have to do. This is because YOU want to do what needs to be done and YOU want to do it well.

But doing can sometimes get in the way of leading.

If you do everything by yourself, you’re not a leader, you’re a worker.

Aubrey Daniels, in his book, Measure of a Leader, distinguishes good leadership based on the behavior of the followers. Daniels talks about this idea of “doing it all by yourself” in terms of energy and commitment. The more energy a leader puts forward to accomplish something by him or herself, the less commitment will be displayed by the followers. The diagram looks like this:

Daniels states, “The energy requirements of the leader increase in direct relationship to the decrease in the commitment of the followers.”

It goes both ways. The more a leader does, the less the followers have buy-in to the tasks or goals. But it’s also true that the level of commitment by the followers will impact how much the leader has to do by him or herself.

As you think about your own organization and those whom you lead, consider these questions:

  • What is the level of buy-in and energy your followers are putting into accomplishing tasks?
  • How are you inspiring a greater level of commitment from your followers?
  • Is your involvement actually creating a barrier to getting others involved?
  • Are you putting more of your energy into areas that followers should be engaged in?
  • How much energy do you put into actually leading?

Don’t think for a moment that leadership doesn’t mean engaging in hard work. It simply means engaging in the work of leading (which can often be harder than trying to do everything by yourself).

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