So I asked the participants to provide me with some examples of issues or concerns that they have working with employees or co-workers. As I reviewed those examples, I am again reminded of how important people skills are to a leader and just how uncomfortable some leaders are with these skills.
I remember wondering why the leader didn't just complete the task and not take up the valuable time of the other group members. While this leader verbalized the desire for group involvement, the leader, due to lack of self-awareness, did not know how or when to step back and engage the expertise of the other group members.
This individual, while doing all the right things and using all the suggestions offered by his/her supervisor, was doing them with an attitude that said, “I’m really better than you because I’m your leader and I know best.”
The one factor that I believe to be the single most influential factor about these leaders is that they were first and foremost human beings trying to do the best job they knew how without creating any more damage or pain to others than was necessary. And when they did create that damage or pain, because it was needed or unintentionally, it was done with compassion and humility.
Perhaps what people mean by “no leadership” or a “lack of leadership” is not that there are no people in leadership positions, but that the people in those positions are unprepared or ill prepared to be able to provide leadership. Perhaps leadership is less about position and more about working with and influencing others. Perhaps leadership is less about technical knowledge and more about understanding human dynamics.