Abdicating Rank


Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, said something that’s still spinning my head. Ambition, not for ourselves, but something bigger. Something greater. Something meaningful.

The disease of mediocrity and stagnant companies is ripe with self-ambition and the individual’s desire to grow their own career, rather than see the product/project/company mission to the end.

Leadership is often confused with personality, rank, and power.

Leaders just need nice, white teeth, a charismatic voice, and be calm under pressure. Right?

There’s a bit more to it. I know I’m guilty of it. In fact, just this week. Using rank, title, personality, traits, or power is an abdication of getting others to follow you. It’s replacing openness, candor, and relationship.

As leaders, we must get others to do what must be done. This involves three components.

  1. Knowing what must be done
  2. Getting people to want to do what must be done
  3. It is not a science, it is an art. (We must develop our own peculiar art form…we shouldn’t — not can we — copy others, though we can certainly learn from others.)

This isn’t manipulation. It’s about the tribe having visibility into the foundational purpose and reason, then wanting to be a part of something bigger, more than a single individual’s dream or hope.

Commanding others (”You have your orders”) is not leadership…that’s dangling a carrot and having someone forced to do it whether they want to or not. That’s role-power, not relationship-power. That is a major difference between a healthy, strong culture and a weak, selfish, wanting culture.

If we need to do whatever it takes to grow and scale our leadership from 1x to 2x to 5x to 10x, then leadership is key. We can coerce others into obeying in order to get that paycheck or promotion…or they can do it because they believe in the greater mission. They see the purpose — they know the Why.


Originally published at www.jeffreybeaumont.com.

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