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10 Apr 2014

Here's How Strong Leaders May Make the Team Weak

Many people, including those that are in high management positions, do not have the right understanding of leadership.  If I were to ask them what's the most important key to their organization or department's success, they will say, 'Having Strong Leader'.  

Yet we know that having strong leaders is never enough. This is especially so when the followers are weak.  Furthermore, no matter how strong the leader is, one day he will need to retire or pass on as no one is impermanent. 

In fact, having strong leaders may be a hindrance to the organization success, especially when the leader is so strong that the entire team of followers become blind followers 'Yes Men'.  When the strong leader is no longer around, the organization will falter because they are too reliant on their strong leader.  Just look at the failures of many family businesses when their strong leaders passed on and you'll know what I am talking about.

What's crucial to the organization success is not strong leaders, but strong leadership.

Strong leadership is different.  In strong leadership situations, the leaders need not be strong,  Yet the team is strong because every team member is a leader or mini-leader.  Like many professional service firms, their Managing Partners may not be in Singapore, or there could even be a vacuum at the top.  Yet because of the strong members the firm has, the members will step up to be leaders on their own.  That's why the professional firms can remain strong no matter what happen. 

There are 5 Factors to have strong leadership:
  1. High Quality Followers, who are not blind followers but smart followers.  These followers are actually leaders, but they choose to yield to the leaders because they want to have strong leadership.  When the time comes, such strong followers will step up to take over the leadership.
  2. Strong Vision, Mission and Goals.  A Vision is where the team will be in the future, whereas a mission spells out the purpose of the team. Goals uplift people and keep everyone focused.  The team will remain strong as there is little in-fighting.  
  3. 100% Involvement.  When the entire team is involved, there is high cohesion, commitment and conviction.  Since no one is left out, everyone will contribute greatly, no matter what is his level and role.  
  4. Strong Will to Fight.  When the will to fight is strong, like Vietnam in the Vietnam War, even the demise of its leader (Mr Ho Chi Minh) will not weaken the team.  This is because every team member is of high quality, fully focused on the vision, mission and goals and 100% involved.  Such strong team can win over a much bigger opponent (like the US).
  5. Leaders Sacrifice.  To make the entire team strong, the leader needs to sacrifice and give opportunities for his followers to grow, be strong and become leaders.  If the strong did not sacrifice, but instead stiffens the team (for fear of them overtaking him), the entire team will be weak.  If that strong leader cannot produce the results, very soon the followers will gang up and rebel against the leader.  That's why you have coups happening.  A good example is North Korea.
Written by Andy Ng, who claims copyright for this article.  You can read our over 195 articles at this blog  For our courses on leadership, management and sales, click here.  For more of such articles:
  1. The Strong Leadership of Samsung and Apple
  2. The Most Dangerous Word that Leaders should not say
  3. Confucius did not Confused People with his Leadership
  4. The Law of Sacrifice at its best
  5. Good Leaders use Force, Great Leaders Use Great Force
  6. Leading People in Difficult Times
  7. We Want You to Be a Better Manager'!

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