Leadership Gaps and how they turn people into mannequins

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Spare or unwanted?, body parts found at Gap

Leadership gaps. They happen. And they happen. What are the costs?

I’ve written several posts about leadership closing the leadership gaps , my 2 leadership verbs, how to engage heads, hands and heart, results revolution and others. But today I want to consider leadership from another perspective.

I’m looking at the gaps in leadership from the mannequin in the closet perspective, or is that the team member that quit, the employee that is disengaged perspective? I’m looking at leadership from the perspective of those who have been wronged, and harmed by it trying to understand common gaps and errors we make when it comes to leading ourselves and others. This is my beginning list of sorts, please add your thoughts.

Reality Gaps

When leaders don’t see reality clearly. When they can’t size up the current situation as it really is, not as it used to be or what they wish it were. When leaders lack awareness of the market, clients, stakeholders, their value, business model, team or strategy gaps.

Antidote: 360 degree feedback, deep engagement with all stakeholders, listening devices providing real time information on market, client, employees, competitors, performance.

Idea Gaps

When the leader is not creating and recreating new ideas. Quantum ideas are overarching, incremental are more strategic and tactical- but make no mistake without ideas leadership is dead.

Antidote: Clarify the ideas and governing principles that are the heart and soul of the business, venture or organization and these should resonate with the values of the tribe/team.

Execution/Performance Gaps

A leader might see reality clearly and have great ideas but what if they can’t mobilize the resources necessary? This is what happens when it’s all ideas and talk and no action and performance.

Antidote: Goals are great, set clear benchmarks of success, give your team full resposiblity and authority and unleash them to make it happen. Review, recalibrate and celebrate as progress and desired outcomes result, dust your team off when it doesn’t work and make sure they all know that falling down is acceptable, as long as you get back up!

Values Gap:

When the values of the team, community or business are nothing more than a mere sheet of paper, when they don’t exist or worse yet when they have been preached but not lived that’s when you have a leadership values gap.

Antidote: The values of the organization are part of the competitive advantage, the soul of the venture. They are a reason the client and employees, the tribe has gathered and should be used as a filter for all leadership decisions. Leaders need to not only embody, model and reinforce the values they espouse they need to fess up when they don’t walk the ‘talk.’ In addition, leaders must be tireless and relentless in making sure others uphold the values and beliefs of their community.

Vision Gaps

This is what happens when leaders forget that they are responsible for the big idea, the overarching theme, the end in mind, the where are we going and why it’s so important story.

Antidote: Get clear; where are you going and why is it so important and how is it revolutionary, different and unique. Why the heck should any of us want to join you?

Story Gaps

Leaders have story gaps when they forget that stories are essential to leadership. By the age of 5 we are learning primarily by story. It’s the leaders responsibility to make sense of the vision in light of our current reality through stories.

Antidote: Develop your ‘teachable point of view’ share your passion. Clarify why things must change, where the team is going and how they will get there.

Integrity Gaps

Leadership integrity gaps are caused when leaders espouse one story, one set of values, shoot off ideas and then don’t walk the talk, follow-up or execute.

Antidote: The leader is the model. Integrity in leadership is evidenced by wholeness, consistency of character and completeness. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If and when you mess up; fess up and dress up Be transparent about your mistakes. When you are transparent you encourage and teach this value. Make it clear that you understand trust is earned. Earn it- every day.

Courage Gaps

This is when fear takes over and instead of closing the division, changing direction, admitting errors, saying the last 10%, having the fierce conversation we duck into the bathroom and practice our Lamaze breathing in the stall.

Antidote: Face the facts. Create a safe environment where you can get accurate, timely 360 degree feedback that allows you to retain a good sense of reality. It’s essential you are transparent, and a fearless seeker of truth in each encounter. Expect it of yourself.

Teaching/Developing Gap

This is what happens when the leader doesn’t view herself as a developer, teacher of others. This is what happens when developing others; to lead, work autonomously is not valued nor encouraged. Sometimes leaders over abdicate and under lead falsely believing they are liberators and empowering when in actuality they are irresponsible, lazy heads. Other times leaders are fear based, scarcity hoarders, hanging on to control never unleashing their team to work with passion and autonomy.

Inspiration Gap

This happens when a leader squeezes the life out of others or treats humans more like mannequins. Over control, lack of clarity, in-congruency, selfish, disrespectful, unrealistic; there are a million ways the inspiration gap can happen.

Antidote: Feedback. Set up systems for continuous, 360 degree input from everyone you work with. Ask, and make it safe for others to tell you the whole truth and when they do, shut up and listen.

Creativity Gap

This happens when leaders are complacent, in to the status quo and basically get or oversee a fat and lazy operation.

Antidote: Build creativity into your week and into the DNA of your culture. Reward opportunist and creative out of the box thinking. Give people the autonomy to invest some time in their individual areas of passion and see what happens.

Empowerment Gap

Fear. Fear. Fear. It makes mannequins out of the best of us. Mix fear of failure with indifference or disrespect and you have enough reason to have an entirely disengaged team, even if they do keep showing up for the paycheck.

Antidote: Care. Serve. Find out what makes each person you lead tick and invest in them. See what happens when you engage deeply in the individual and how they might transform the collective, move the team forward toward its goals.

Results Gap

This is what happens when it just isn’t happening. For whatever reason. It’s time to face the facts and do something different.

Antidote: Leadership is constant change. Don’t get comfortable. What is real now? And what are you and your highly inspired team going to do about it? Stop whining and roll up your sleeves- remember you are the role model.

My commitmen; to seek to understand rather than be understood. And to close the gaps in my leadership that negatively impact the people and world I am here to care for and serve.

…okay your turn; give me some more leadership gaps!

Pam Hoelzle

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No Responses to “Leadership Gaps and how they turn people into mannequins”

  1. Blaine Millet

    How about the “Transparency Gap” – this is significant in most leaders. Leaders have typically grown up in a world of control and “playing it close to the vest” to make their mark in the business community.

    With “new media” and a “new conversation” this is rocking their world. Now they are expected to be open, honest, “transparent” and engaging – very foreign to most leaders. I see this in almost every interaction I have with CEOs, Business Owners and other top executives.

    Just wanted to share this perspective. Looking forward to your conference.

    Blaine Millet