There are many ways to take stock of the health of a leader. I want to tell you about a tool of analysis that I always find to be very accurate about the security and wisdom of the leaders I advise.
Think about your image of a strong, healthy, secure leader. He or she is vital and vibrant, competent and courageous. Yet they also like to have people of equal strength around them. They like eagles. They know the wisdom of having people of differing gifts but equal power teamed with them.
In fact, the leaders I work with will fly across country just to be in the presence of someone they deem to be a peer, someone of the same or greater spirit or gift or wisdom. They flock to their fellow eagles. They love to bond with people like them but who are also different enough to force them to grow. They get a look on their face when they meet this kind of person. It says, “Oh yeah. There’s one of my tribe. I’m going to make him/her part of my life.”
This may sound extreme. I assure you it’s not. Top leaders will run you over to find out what you know, to be challenged by what you can do that they cannot. They love talent. They love passion. They love people who can make them better.
Let’s talk about the other side. Weak, insecure, controlling leaders aren’t comfortable with strength around them. They want underlings. They want gofers. They don’t want to be challenged. They don’t want to be shown up. They want to be the shiniest person in the room, whether it’s best for the organization they lead or not.
You’ve seen leaders like this. You may realize just this moment you are one. The insecurity that makes us like this is a cancer on our leadership.
You see, your leadership should be typified by an NFL quarterback. This guy calls the plays. He hands off the ball. He is general to the team. Yet he is at home with excellence. He wants the best running backs, the best linemen, and the best ends in the game. He’s happy for all of them to get noticed, to be awarded, to get bonuses and fame. The quarterback defines his job in terms of winning the game, not hogging the spotlight. What sense would it make for him to insist that the team’s coach and management hire only weak players so that he could be the center of attention?
Foolish, isn’t it? Well, that’s what some leaders do. They are insecure, competitive, and small. They don’t want their team to be mighty. They don’t want a band of eagles around them. They want a band of sycophants. They want to be worshipped.
You know where I’m going. Look at your life, your leadership, and your heart. What is it that makes you more comfortable with toadies than with champions, if this is indeed you? Take time with this. Think about what you feel in the moment and why.
Get help. Seriously. Get the help you need. Your goal is to be completely at peace with a team that completely outshines you because they are so amazing. They’re only going to make you and your firm amazing too. You just have to hire top people and let them rise as far as their gifts allow them, all while you cheer them on.