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Leadership Truth: You Can’t Save Your Company

One of the challenges that is common in the realm of leadership is that of, what I call, “the savior syndrome”. It’s an alluring challenge; and it’s actually a trap. Many leaders fall victim to its seduction. I know; I’ve done it myself.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

You’re at the helm of something (or you’re stepping up to the helm of something): a project, a company, an organization. There’s trouble afoot, and everyone knows it. Moreover, if the problem isn’t fixed, things are doomed.

You are asked to find a solution. And you’ve got a brilliant one at hand. You know, in your heart of hearts, exactly what needs to happen to rectify the problem. So you gladly take on the challenge and start the wheels of change.

So far, so good, right? Isn’t this how change happens? Doesn’t someone need to dive in, take the lead, and set the wheels of transformation in motion?

Yes; and no. You see, you’ve missed a critical step. In your eagerness to fix the problem and get change happening, you’ve overlooked something: you haven’t asked those around you for their input.

As a leader, it can be really easy to think that you and you alone have got the inside track into what’s needed to make things run smoothly. And when you’re certain that your idea is brilliant (or at least, very good), you just want to put it into action and watch the magic unfold.

Too often, it doesn’t happen like that.

Until you enlist the support of those around you – until you get their input and their buy-in – your solution can’t bring about the ease that you think it might. Because it’s difficult for folks to support what they haven’t had a hand in creating. It’s not impossible; and it is difficult.

I know, I know. You don’t have time to talk to EVERYBODY. This problem needs solving NOW. And you’re solution makes so much sense; surely, people will see that!

They might; and they might not. Why take the chance?

What I know for sure is that a conversation at the outset will help to circumvent many hiccups that might otherwise arise. True, someone might raise a concern at the outset that delays the implementation of your strategy; but trust me when I say it’s better for you to know that concern and address it out of the gate, rather than implement your solution and have it be derailed because someone slams the brakes on later.

Bottom-line: you alone CANNOT save your company, organization or project. Leadership is not a solo gig. If you want to fix the problems that are around you, talk to the folks around you. Get their support. Make it a team effort. Because when it comes right down to it, every superhero has got at least one sidekick.


Tracy Harvie