We’re going to jump right back into the discussion we started in last week’s post, “Why Good Leaders Go Bad: Brilliant Jerks,” and continue our exploration of the anatomy of brilliant jerks. In this post, we’re specifically going into how resistance to change factors into why good leaders go bad. This is also another post on the longer side, so without further ago, let’s get back into it
This week on the blog, in somewhat a change of pace, we are going to get a little topical. Over the weekend, I had an experience that taught me a few important lessons about what it means to be a leader, and I thought this experience would make an equally valuable teachable moment for my readers and followers. I don’t know if I could sum up the lesson in a single phrase, but what became clear to me as a result of this experience is that confidence without humility results in loss of credibility and arrogance in any form erodes one’s ability to be a leader. So, this week, I want to begin a multi-part series to explore why and how good leaders go “bad.” The topic for this week is the anatomy of the “brilliant jerk.” We’ll be looking at this specific incident, uncovering its implications for leadership in general, and figuring out what it means with regard to what leaders owe to themselves and others.
A major source of organizational waste in companies today is that we tend to overlook the capabilities of the people we have all around us and rely too much on external resources. This then causes employees to be disenfranchised, disaffected, and resigned, and contributes to a downward spiral of poor morale and sub-optimal results. All of this, in turn, just increases demand for external consultants to come in and fix things and the whole vicious cycle starts all over again!
An important aspect of leadership development is to recognize the extent of one’s own power and influence, as well as its enormous potential to affect others and the world around us. This is important not only so our power can be properly utilized to effectively serve people and influence the rate of progress, but also to ensure that our exercise of it does not inadvertently create unintended consequences opposite to our stated intentions. No one who wishes to become an effective leader can do so without recognizing that, to quote a well-known mentor, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
The defining moments of our transformation journeys are those moments when we experience a setback or encounter an unforeseen challenge. A vision you believe in and a plan you are willing to follow are necessities to get started, but sooner or later, something happens that has the potential to take the wind out of your sails. Resilience in the face of these challenges is what separates those who conquer seemingly insurmountable odds to claim ultimate success, and those who eventually accept defeat and fail to accomplish their goals.