The challenge of today’s leader is to combat docility.
Of course, it’s a dream of those with power to have everyone on your team do everything you want without complaint or question, but that’s how authoritarianism works, not democracy.
Maybe your organization is less like a democratic institution and more like a monarchy. There’s your first error.
Look, leadership isn’t easy, and if it is, you’ve gotten complacent. People are not controllable assets designed to comply with your whim. We’ve all been through a lot, not only the last year, or five, or ten, but residuals of the 20th century still influence people, and if you have any intellectual honesty, the unaddressed sins of 400 years ago continue to infect modern advancements.
People mourn and process trauma differently, and nearly everyone you know is grieving or processing some untold shock or injury you don’t know anything about. Today, that often presents itself as compliance. The crap coming from you that your team has to put up with is so annoying yet, insignificant that the headache of calling you out on it isn’t worth the effort.
What a tragedy and lost opportunity; to have the human spirit so discouraged as to become docile to glorified administrators. That is a nightmare scenario for any well-led organization.
Don’t warp the intent, I’m not saying you need to create an angry mob, but you had better be open to some occasional rebellion. You want others to challenge your ideas, have old processes improved, traditions forced to defend themselves instead of being allowed to stand because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”
Strong leaders embrace team members who have independent, critical thinking and take bold action while that very idea threatens weak leaders.
Weak leaders see labor shortages; strong leaders hire the best talent.
Weak leaders thrive with trappings of control; strong leaders distribute power.
Weak leaders want a docile team; strong leaders would never tolerate one.
If you find your team has become timid, reserved, and bound by artificial rules, it is incumbent of you as a leader to awaken their spirit and arouse their innate human need for purpose, fairness, and fulfillment.
Also published on Medium.