Leadership Is Overrated

It’s funny, leadership (whatever that is) might not be so important after all. As managers, we shouldn’t care if employees
followed us. Right? It’s our job to set people and projects up for
success and to operate according to our company’s culture. The company, in turn,
should serve the customer.

There are people in any organization who have the ability to
naturally influence crowds. At Waffle House, our informal leader
was a big, friendly and funny waiter with a deep and authoritative voice. When
he asked you to do something, you just couldn’t turn him down.

New hires wanted to become like him. Suppliers wanted to talk to him. Guests and staff were
inspired by his wit and likeability. He had great influence. But guess what, I
had more. Was I a better leader than he was? No. But I was in the unique
position to have control over his work schedule, pay rate and, ultimately, his
employment at my store (sounds bitchy, but isn’t meant that way).

With more power comes
more responsibility?
Yes, and maybe that’s why I was chosen to be the formal store leader: My
intentions are usually predictable, and they happened to be “make it work
according to how things are supposed to get done around here”.

What are your

Inspired by Jim Stroup, Managing Leadership. I’m anxiously
awaiting his follow-up post to Sources of Real Leadership.

Update: Check out this must-read post by Jim Stroup, Summarizing the fallacy of individual leadership. It’s been a real eye-opener for me.

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