The five signs of a “Stage Leader”

pointy-hairedboss_dilbertBeing a successful leader is a lot like being a parent – It’s not about you. The focus is on developing your team just like a parent ensures the development of their children.

We have all heard the famous stories of the Stage Parent.  This is the parent who pushes their child to excel in acting, singing, tennis, baseball or any other activity where the parent is living out their dreams vicariously through their child. The rewards for the Stage Parent are all about the Stage Parent.  We have also heard the all too often unfortunate end to these relationships.  The child may be an individual success for a time, but as an adult they resent the loss of their childhood and often drop out of the limelight and distance themselves from their parent.

Have you ever heard of Stage Leader?  Rarely is this type of leader successful in the long run. Like the children of Stage Parents, in time the team members resent the lack of focus on their development and distance themselves from the leader – often leaving the company.

Here are the five signs of a Stage Leader:

Empire building

A successful leader will build many teams – that is what leaders do.  You can identify the stage leader by the number of shortcuts they take as they build their teams.  Building a successful team takes time.  I liken it to the construction of a large commercial building: the foundation brings stability and long lasting success, a well-designed architectural plan makes each piece fit together, and the right communication enables many members to work together.

Works for the perks

As a leader becomes more successful there are often well earned benefits that come with the additional responsibility.  The stage leader can be identified by their desire for more and more perks, and their tendency to flaunt their perks.

Conceal mistakes

All successful leaders have made their share of mistakes.  That is how you learn what not to do.  A stage leader will also make mistakes.  The difference will be in the next step.  The successful leader admits their mistakes and works with their team to put a better process in place for the next time; the stage leader will attempt to hide their mistake from others and quietly solve the problem themselves.

Misleads the teams

Trust is the foundation of any successful leader.  Their team trusts them to tell the truth, to share the real story no matter what the story is.  The stage leader will only share the most flattering news.  Their teams are often lulled into a false sense of security only to see that security fall apart when reality hits.

Knows every answer

The successful leader is responsible for obtaining the right answer, not for always having the right answer. The main reason leaders build teams is to gather the best and the brightest who know more than they do on particular topics.  The stage leader will be the first to talk and the last to talk.