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In following with my previous couple of writings, I wanted to share one more leadership characteristic that will lead to failure. As with the previous two, this is something that I have often caught myself thinking and also sharing with others. This is the evil characteristic of having a “No one does it better than I do” attitude.

I have found that due to the nature of having the position of leader, others on the team have a tendency of looking to that position for answers. With the team comes looking for answers, it is natural to just be the person with all of the answers. After all, if we as leaders look like we don’t know or that we don’t have the answers then we will loose our control. We will look like we don’t know what we are talking about. Which will lead to our not being a leader.

I could take the middle of this blog and create something whimsical to keep your attention however due to the serious of this problem I would like to go in another direction. I would like for you to put yourself, as a leader, in the shoes of the others on your team.

Just imagine that you are on a team, and you have just left a great discussion where the goal and vision have been shared. A plan has been put in place, and you have a clear picture of your part in the goal and vision. And then there is a call that you have to make, but you are unsure of the correct way to handle the situation. Your natural response is to let the leader know what is happening and get their input on the situation. As you are sitting down over coffee, you present the situation and wait to get input. It is at this point that your leader will have to make a choice on how to answer. Those choices are simple; the first way is to say how they would handle the situation and provide this direction. The “If I were in your shoes this is the way I would do it” method. Or, the other direction would be to provide a list of resources for you to use for you to make a decision.

In my many conversations with leaders, I have heard many of them share the answer to any question, “This is what I do.” Now this is not a bad statement depending on the attitude that goes along with it. The problem is that many times a leader becomes arrogant and filled with the mentality that they are an expert in all problems everywhere.

As I have stated, this is a problem that I have owned way too often. I start believing the press clippings on how great I am doing and how amazing I am. I am just here to warn you about the great fall that comes from this problem. Team members do not want to be led by a know it all.

We must recognize that our role as a leader is one of being more of an influencer instead of a control person. Leaders need to trust others and spend time developing the people around them so that they can use their gifts and talents. One of the best ways to do that is to understand that others on the team can be better qualified to do things than you are.

Back to our role play. Imagine that you were there with your leader and you were waiting to hear about his suggestions when he suggest that you speak with another team member and get their thoughts. Imagine if that leader said something like this, “I am not sure if you have spoken to ‘Johnny Whoever’ about this however they are great in this area. They could provide you with both suggestions and also resources to get you through. After you speak with them be sure to let me know how it went, I would love to hear their take on the situation.”

In that one conversation, the leader would have provided the necessary help and also provided encouragement to Johnny Whoever. It also shows that they leader is not someone that thinks they know everything.

This week’s experiment; Are you as a leader playing the role of “No one does it better than I do?” If you have been bitten by this bug, try to take the steps necessary to build up and encourage the others on your team.