My Leadership Psychosis:
How to… and not to… sabotage and destroy those who follow you.
Disorder #1 Meg The Micro-Manager
First, who am I to diagnose leadership illness; you ask? Only one that has suffered from it, I answer.
My leadership background includes co-leading a team over the course of 15 years in a venture I co-owned; our tribe included 200,000 clients and 600 associates. Together we rocked the lives of about 30,000 clients a week; up close and personal. Yes, the service business. On a monthly basis we were responsible for 3 million moments of truth- maybe more. It was during this adventure in the middle of this super sized, estrogen cult (550 of the 600 team members were women!) I cut my leadership teeth.
At the ripe age of 24 I thought, no I knew; I was a rock star; leader. Clearly, I was deeply unconscious. Truth was, my leadership skills were woefully inadequate for a tribe this size. Thankfully, I’ve learned quite a bit in the last 20 some years.
Currently, at the ‘even more ripe’ age of forty-five, I am slowly learning to come from a place of ‘not knowing.’ Okay so I don’t know everything, but I do know that leadership Psychosis is harmful to teams, tribes and raving fans!
That’s why for the next ten posts I am sharing 10 common leadership disorders and their antidotes and yes a few of them I can relate to, all of them wreak havoc on teams, tribes and raving fans!
Leadership Disorder #1: Meg the Micro Manager
To lead or manage? Meg the Micro Manager. Meg’s illness began with a mild case of ‘I want control’ and ‘I’m insecure’ and grew like wild fire into the deranged disorder. ‘If I control everything I will be a success.’ Her maladjustment evidenced by angry team members, revolting fans, and followers running in the opposite direction; thanking God for their freedom.
The origins of Meg’s disease lie in her beliefs about herself, others and leadership. You see Meg is motivated by her ego and its insatiable hunger for recognition, approval and rewards. Meg didn’t choose leadership because she could not, not lead. No, she became a leader because it appeared to be the quickest path to power, recognition and reward. She falsely believes that if she can just do enough, be enough and perform enough; she will finally, once and for all, quiet the demons within. Secretly Meg hopes no one will find out what a fake, phony and a failure she is.
Meg has this thing about being ‘right.’ If her; idea, plan, improvement, team, project is right; she’s a good manager. This is the reason she micro-manages the beggeesses (my word) out of everyone and everything. Life is one performance after another for Meg. She’s the model workaholic, excessively reviewing every detail and every task again and again and again. Some think she’s an ideal manager, all think she’s a lousy leader.
Meg’s personal beliefs and insecurities infect the team she leads, I mean micro manages. The team needs to be as ‘good’ and as ‘perfect’ as Meg. If things are done ‘right’ and on time Meg is golden, almost angelic. Meg never met a question she liked, but is rather fond of answers. She is one of the hardest people to connect with in the world, I mean how do you talk to someone whose primary communication is a one-line directive or the same answer repeated time and time again? Meg controls her team members to the point that anti-acids are a line item on her P and L and nervous ticks as common as a cold in her culture.
Meg’s most annoying habits:
Dictates tasks and details, never asking for input.
Focuses on "HOW" not "What" "Where" or "Why"
Insidiously nags, remind and checks up on team members.
Engages the thought that "No one but Meg, can do it right…"
Restricts freedom, access and power
Limits feedback and sideways communication in the tribe.
The antidote to Meg The Micro- Manager: Tara the Tribal Leader
Tara’s a leader not a manager. Where Meg is a control freak, who escapes to the bathroom to fold toilet paper squares, Tara is a visionary. She understands the importance of beginning with the end in mind and spends a majority of her time telling the ‘story’ and modeling the values of the culture. Tara is more hedgehog than fox, understanding the ‘one big’ thing her fans want. She has lazor beam like focus, and is not easily distracted or confused. Tara is a born connector with an abundant mindset. Engaging, she attracts just the right team members to her adventures. Tara believes that people matter, they make ‘the difference’ and because of this she is downright stubborn when it comes to who gets on and off her bus. Whereas Meg manages by fear, Tara is a reality based leader. She quickly acknowledges facts, regardless of how difficult they appear, orchestrates engaging dialogue and demands decisive action. Meg likes to talk and talk, her favorite past time is meetings. Meetings for meetings sake drives Tara batty that’s one of the reasons she created a highly connected organism integrating associates and raving fans into one large tribe that is in a constant state of communication. In Tara’s organization you cannot, not communicate.
It’s true, most people want to follow Tara, call it leadership phermones, but that doesn’t make Tara a softy, not by a long shot. She has high standards and establishes clear benchmarks of success for every team member. Her team goes ape over ‘below the bar performance,’ seeing it as a form of heresy, a cancer within that must be eliminated. Tara invests in training and development because her mantra is ‘The curious, the learned, those who grow- win!’ Status quo is a four letter word to Tara. Most of all Tara is passionate. Passion oozes out of her, inspiring others to aim high, to engage, to live and work like no one’s watching and guess what… the extraordinary manifests: Innovation, value, enhanced lives and ROI …it’s natural for Tara the Tribal Leader.
A Change artist with a curious personality
Initiator of Dialogue
Thanks to Seth Godin, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard for all the inspiration over the years
Next Post….Leadership Psychosis #2: Freida the Fear Farmer
"With" is a powerful thing…