LIWDOL — Lesson #3: Beware of the Most Dangerous Leadership Time Bomb—Extremity

13 Jul

Welcome to “Leadership Insights With David O. Lawal” once again. I trust you had a glorious weekend.

Last week Pvt. Sina Arogundade, an Electrical Electronics undergraduate of the Federal University, Oye, commented, “The fact that you are very loving and understanding does not make you more of a leader than someone very firm and strict.” His statement got me thinking.

Private Sina was my senior back in the Nigerian Military School. He’s still in the military, while I’m out and have no plans to return. Truly, we now perceive things differently. And he’s right. Leadership is complex. It’s never one-sided. In fact, as a leader, you need to train yourself to use different strokes for different folks. Do you catch that?

However, beware of extremity!

Among your team, you’ll find different kinds of people—the good, the bad and the irritating. I’ve known certain people who are so resistant to love, however you attempt to show them that you care. They seem to demand some serious screwing. Rather than encouragement, they prefer to be instructed. Like robots, they need a strict push for them to get to work and produce results.

Let’s be honest, only a few people are like that. Very few. Love is an irresistible force. And most people will respond to it. If you choose to be a boss, push people around and care only about seeing results. Use the “I don’t care how you’ll do it” stroke with everyone on your team. You’ll never be disappointed. They’ll do just what you want—they’ll never fail to produce result, even if it means going through hell.

I believe that isn’t your goal. The reason you’re reading this is because you want to become a better leader. You’re not only concerned about results; you also care a lot for those you’re leading. During their downtimes, you want to show them that you really understand what they’re going through. You treat them like humans, not like robots. If this is your goal, then you must constantly remind yourself about this fact: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Still, beware of extremity!

Don’t overdo caring. Never be too strict. When you’re too caring, you’ll stifle the growth of your team players. You’ll be too protective. You’ll want to keep them from taking important risks. And if they can’t tackle tough situations, they will never get better. On the flip side, being too strict will keep your people on their feet always. If all they get are instructions without encouragement, they’ll burn out in the long run. They’ll lose enthusiasm. They’ll quit. And the job will crash.

As my dad often tells me, “Don’t be too bitter or too sweet. If you’re too bitter, people will spill you out and if you’re too sweet, they’ll lick you up.” So what should you do? It’s simple. Be firm + understanding.

Go out and live out leadership today: Follow every instruction with encouragement.

Have a splendid week.

What’s your say on this subject? How do you plan to apply today’s lesson? Let’s discuss.


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