We Can Not Lead from Positions We Need

Another reason for so many bad bosses in the world? We cannot lead what we need. If we're dependent on our job, our leadership is hindered.
AI image from Shutterstock.com (prompt: an employer chained to money and a large manufacturing building horizontal). The image is an analogy to the fact we cannot lead what we need.

Do you need your current position? We cannot lead what we need.

Are you dependent upon your current employer for income and benefits? Yes? Then you cannot lead there. Let me explain….

Inigo Montoya from the movie The Princess Bride, looks to the left and says, "Let me explain - No, there is too much - let me sum up."

There are two dependencies preventing most people from being great leaders in corporations:

  1. Salary & Benefits Dependency: If you lack confidence in your ability to find great employment elsewhere, a sufficient financial reserve to allow you time to find new employment, or both, you seek to please your boss rather than do what is right. Therefore, you will not be the best leader.
  2. Perception Dependency: Many fear the perceptions of others if they were to lose their job. We dwell on what others may think of us if we lose our jobs so we seek to please our bosses rather than do what is right. In this scenario, we will not be good leaders.

Why Does Need Prevent Leadership?

Dependency reduces risk tolerance.

This is why someone may be a mediocre leader for their employer but a great leader in their church, charity, or other organization. When we don’t need the organization – or our role in it – we are free to do what is right.

Independence empowers leadership.

If You Want to be a Better Leader

What should we do to be a better leader if we’re dependent on the employer? Develop independence from our employers.

  1. Salary & Benefits Independence: Win the lottery. I joke. On a more serious note, develop the skills and confidence that you can – and will – find another employer, if necessary. Then create savings in case of need – at least 6 months.
  2. Perception Independence: You’re awesome. Seriously, you’re investing in yourself and your abilities. You know how few people do that? Stop giving 2 craps about what others think. Whatever happens, know you made the best decision for you.

There is a common thread here: confidence. Give yourself the resources and capability to be confident. Then establish your independence from your employer so you can be the best leader possible for them and all your stakeholders.

This post also appeared on our LinkedIn newsletter at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/we-can-lead-from-positions-need-ben-lichtenwalner-mba/

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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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