Once upon a time, there was a leader who could mesmerize a crowd. He would give his updates like the most eloquent of orators, claiming tremendous victories. Everyone admired him.
Then, one day, a change warrior came to town. She recommended that people develop tracking that reflected true results. She observed this man’s team and found some of his stories didn’t hold water. His words and their actions were not congruent. She also discovered that the mediocre performers loved him, but the high achievers were frustrated.
As she uncovered facts, she revealed a man who had spun his reputation into sure currency without the gold to back it up. As the facts were revealed, the stories fell apart.
Does this story sound familiar to you? In my book, Real People Real Change: Stories of a Change Warrior in the Business World , I share situations where such leaders were revealed. They put much more energy into their stories than they did their work.
When leading change, these are the leaders that will initially slap you on the back and say things like, “I’m so glad you’re here. Nobody at this company pays attention to us like you do. Thank goodness you’ve arrived.” They invite you to their meetings and put on a great show. They try to spin their web around you, giving you hundreds of stories about their success.
Then you start inspecting and observing. Suddenly things don’t match up. And, just as suddenly, they begin to do something they call “protecting their people.” They resist change in the name of doing what is right for their team. In my book there is a chapter called “Some will Follow, Some will Fail,” and I share:
Leaders who begin to protect their employees during times of change feel threatened themselves. Rather than admit their fear of losing position or power, they create an odd super hero. I call these leaders the “Super-Same.” Super-Same leaders make sure that nothing will change . . . They run through their regions, capes flying, saying, ”Look at me, I’m your hero!” Well, a true hero doesn’t keep his or her employees from moving forward and improving the organization.
Leaders like this would be exposed early if you ensure that you don’t manage to their stories. Find out the truth by:
If you delve deeply enough, you’ll also find your true treasures — those leaders that lead humbly and with the right intent. They a re the same leaders that want to move forward, and will rally around you during times of change. If you have a leader resisting with a lot of fanfare, you might have a Super-Same hero. Find out the facts. It will be the best thing you will ever do for his or her people.
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