Updated: Jan 22, 2019
What is it? What do they look like? How do they function? Are they everywhere?
Those that think they are a leader push for more results from staff and create a façade of a “team” culture. They talk about the “team” and “giving the resources,” but they make no sacrifices and generally just talk their way through or bide time. Always about the talk but when it comes time for action, nothing. So what happens to those in this environment. It is a very interesting dynamic. Some stay for loyalty, some necessity, and others buy into the smoke screen. In an case over time all feel the “let down”, and lose the enthusiasm to push and do more.
Here is what generally happens. People wake up and look around and realize they have done it all and put it all on the line, for what. At this point it is not about the money. The consumption of time, energy, family, friends for promises that never come are and were far bigger than the $$$$.
So how do these places not self-destruct from the onset? Simple---the good intentions of people keep it afloat. People are often bought into the false vision or promises that never come at first. It is always just a little bit longer or a little bit more for until…nothing.The other thing you are guaranteed to find is that there is a person that is the glue that is holding it all together. This person is likely never the one with the title. This person is not the one writing the paychecks or leading on paper, but they understand and can relate to the others. They are the ones with the pulse for what is going on. Once this person has had enough, expect major turnover or implosion of a department, business or even a service line.
In the beginning, these people try to speak up to those that can make the changes and influence the process. When they see that nothing is being done, they slowly become silent.
Andy Stanley said it best: leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.
There is an overwhelming number of those, who have simply mastered the art of BS and how to string people along or “dangle the carrot”. It sounds good, but after time with no execution it demonstrates emptiness. Leadership is action, not a position. I have watched too many people make a living out of kicking the can down the road.
Unfortunately, I have also seen people trapped in this environment, who have given until they have nothing left. Out of fear, not loyalty, they stay. This becomes toxic to their health and impacts their home dynamic. Often the titled leader is oblivious while everyone suffers around them.
When and how does it stop? Those leaders without the title have to keep hope alive for the others and band together for support and try to influence the process. Always be looking. AND—don’t go down with a sinking ship while the captain is in the lifeboat.
We should always finish what we start, just remember you don’t have to finish where you started. Sometimes the leap of faith and risk of a change of job is the only way. Did you leave an impact and is what you are doing defining your legacy. Not just what you are doing but how you are doing it.