Leadership – It’s not about YOU!

Posted by Trevor Bibic on 14-Jul-2016 11:00:00

It might seem cheesy, or obvious to say that being a leader means caring about your people. However, based on the professional conversations I am having, I might suggest that a lot of leaders are not getting it right! The price of this failure is that people simply leave in the hope that it will be better elsewhere. You might even recognise that in your own career experiences.

 What it means to be a leader

In the early days of taking on responsibility for managing people, I discovered One Minute Manager as a tool to help me figure out how to deal with the frustrating people part of being a new manager.


One element had a significant impact on me and all the leadership roles I have done since. Turn the pyramid upside down. Best explained by the author Ken Blanchard himself:


“…we must turn the pyramid upside down so the people are responsible and their leader or manager is responsive. Remember, the word responsible means "able to respond." In this responsive role, the leader now encourages, supports, coaches, facilitates and does everything to help his or her people be successful in goal accomplishment.”

(source: http://www.qualitydigest.com/oct/blanchrd.html)


This has been a game changer for me. I have had more fun, found the work easier, more rewarding and got great results for the teams and organisations I have worked in. But as I said, it’s not about me. The real reward in the roles has been seeing people develop and grow. I am still in touch and on great terms with people I managed 20 years ago!


Every leader I have spoken to about this usually nods in agreement. Seems like common sense. Yet, there is one question that crops up on a regular basis, and could well be one of the blocks that prevents them from applying this common sense. What about my own career development and value to the organisation? Very simply, if you are able to help people develop the skills that mean that they move on to bigger and better things, or perform to the highest levels, then surely that is of incredible value to your organisation! In my view, you can measure your success by how well the people you lead are succeeding.


A quote caught my attention recently. It was in response to the leadership challenges that FIFA is currently experiencing.


We need to reverse the pyramid, put the priorities of our players and fans on top and turn FIFA into a service organisation. Prince Ali Hussein of Jordan

(source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11578236)


So, therefore, those that service the players or the fans, could be considered to be the most important people in the organisation. In your organisation, if your job is to lead those employees who have contact with your customers/stakeholders, then consider what you can do to enable them to do this most effectively.


This article was meant as a pointer to prompt you to look into this further and I have presented some of the most interesting resources on this subject. I leave you with the question – what have you done to enable and improve your staff today?




  1. The NHS Healthcare Leadership Model. A practical structure that can work anywhere with a minor tweak or two. One of the best things I have found on this subject and well worth investing time in reading. http://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/resources/healthcare-leadership-model/
  2. One Minute Manager. Updated in 2015 to take into account changing times. The link is a summary to the key points, but I would encourage you to get the book “The New One Minute Manager” to read the thinking behind it. http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/3-leadership-secrets-from-the-new-one-minute-manager.html
  3. A proposal that people leave managers not companies! I read this and started asking colleagues what they thought about it. I was surprised how many cited a manager as a significant factor in their choices to leave organisations. http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2015/08/04/people-leave-managers-not-companies/#439f703f16f3
  4. Why good leaders make you feel safe. The subject of psychological safety in teams is becoming a hot topic. http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe


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Topics: leadership, career success, management, leaders

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