Top 10 Leadership Blunders: #6

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Top 10 Leadership Blunders: #6

Encourager-In-Chief: October 23rd, 2019

Publicly blaming the people you serve.

In one of my first roles as a leader, I had several counterparts located in branch offices across the country. It was common for us to get on group phone calls and discuss what was happening in each of our locations. There was one young man who was the newest in his position as a leader. I can still remember him talking about how incompetent his people were. Specifically, he said, “if I don’t show them how to do everything, they’re lost.” I understood that he was saying this with the intention of demonstrating how valuable he was to the organization — that no one in his department could even function without him.

This young man demonstrates the traditional and outdated mindset of a manager — but certainly not that of a leader worth following. A true leader understands that the more self-sufficient his or her team becomes, the more valuable that leader is to an organization. What is the point of having subordinates if they cannot work independently of their leader?

More importantly, even if it were true that his employees could not function without him, the last thing he should have done was brag about it. That matter would have been better handled privately, either with his team or with the individuals in need of greater direction. By the way, this leader did not last long in his position.

Great leaders protect their people, especially when they are the most vulnerable to criticism. Mary Scoles was the best leader for whom I have ever worked. I’d never been in a leadership position before she promoted me and she took many bullets for me from people who saw how much I obviously still needed to learn. Yet, not only did Mary protect me, defend me, and train me, she constantly built me up and never let me know when people were stabbing me in the back.

The best employees you will ever have are still going to need training. The sooner you look at them with compassion and promise, instead of frustration and contempt, the sooner you will become an inspirational leader.

Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role. It’s always about the goal.
- Author Unknown

This excerpt is taken from my Leading with Integrity seminar.

Inspired Leadership V: Leading With Integrity


I encourage you to order my Become a Leader Worth Following audio program, which also covers this lesson in much greater detail.

Become a Leader Worth Following


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