Mindstate Motivation Blog

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How Poor Leaders Can Absolutely Destroy Your Heart

I don’t mean to imply you’re not a leader.  Each in our own way has to choose to take a leadership role at times in our lives.  However, all of us must interact from time to time with people leading something in which we are involved.

When the motivation and skills of these leaders are misplaced and subpar it can rip your heart out.

Take the situation in Flint, Michigan.  Leaders at all levels in Flint and the state of Michigan ripped the heart out of the community through a poisonous decision to shortcut access to a clean water supply.  There even seems to be culpability all the way up to the federal level of leadership ranks!

The result of those leadership decisions will reverberate for generations because of the damage done by the introduction of poisonous water into the lives of tens of thousands of people!

When you consider the Flint water supply story, it quickly becomes apparent how poor leadership created the situation.drift-wood-123209_1920

But, what happened in Flint is just one story of the impact of poor leadership.  The fact is the characteristics of poor leadership there are just as devastating in different ways but in all situations.

I define great leadership as when the leader is not out in front of the group with a great big title but right in the middle of the group with a great big, disciplined heart.

I think we can agree the leaders involved in the Flint water debacle do not even remotely fit that leadership description.

Your challenge is dealing effectively with such leadership in your life so you don’t have your heart ripped out but can flourish despite it.

chinese-675138_1280  There is hope for you in doing that.  Two things are required.  First, is understanding the characteristics of a poor leader.  Second, is understanding how you can protect yourself.

The top 5 characteristics of poor leaders are:

Narcissism—excessive interest in oneself and lack of humility

Extreme Selfishness—a grandiose view of one’s talents and disregard of the talents of others

Insecure—craving admiration from others

Myopic—narrow-minded; small-minded; lacking in intellectual insight

Self-protective—protecting oneself with total lack of concern for the well-being of others

What do you think? Can you see where those five characteristics are pervasive in the leadership of the Flint situation?

 Of course, there are lots of other characteristics we could attribute to poor leadership.  On the other hand, if you could avoid having your heart ripped out by leaders with one or more of these top five, your life would be imminently better.

So, let’s take a look how you could protect yourself from poor leaders.

self-love-65693_1920First, you can’t “out-narcissist” a narcissist!  Because of their excessive self-interest and lack of humility, they really aren’t that aware of other people and their needs.

If you decide, to turn inward and take on narcissistic characteristics yourself it will not give you sweet revenge against your lousy, narcissistic leader for the above noted reason.  However, what you will receive is negative pushback from everyone else with whom you associate.

In short…two wrongs do not make a right.

The best thing you can do to survive while working for a narcissistic leader is take as low a profile as you can.  Sure…because they are your boss you will have to deal with them from time to time…just make those times as infrequent as you can.

When you are forced to engage with your narcissistic leader, do so as non-confrontationally as you can.  Don’t let him or her negatively impact your mindstate.  Allow them to feel like they have the upper hand while you try to minimize things and move on with your day.

Of course, if you allow their narcissism to eat away at you and cause you to feel chronic and unreasonable amounts of daily stress, you can always make the ultimate choice.  Find another job with a leader who shares your values!

So…let’s move on to another characteristic of a poor leader.  Let’s assume you are blessed to work for an extremely selfish boss.scrooge-28854_1280

S/he has a total disregard for the talents of you and your colleagues.  Of course, this same leader selfishly believes her or his talents far exceed you and everybody else.

The first thing you have to recognize is the selfish leader is probably not going to change…PERIOD!  Certainly, you trying to engage them in some kind of “change intervention” will get you absolutely nowhere.

They’re selfish…remember!

You have to make the choice to accept who they are and their degree of selfishness.  Stay focused on your goals and responsibilities as much as possible.

Don’t obviously and rudely ignore them.  On the other hand, don’t encourage their selfishness by feeding it with any more attention than is necessary for you to peacefully coexist with them.

Of course, there is also the ultimate solution as noted above.  Find another job with a leader who shares your values!

eyes-394176_1280Then…there is the leader who is insecure in so many ways including craving your attention and admiration.

Dealing with this kind of poor leader can be unpredictable at best and debilitating to your peace of mind at the worst.

One important way to avoid your boss’s insecurities negatively impacting you is to focus on the big picture within your organization.  In other words, make the choice to live with the unpleasantness that goes with working within the immediate sphere of your insecure leader but focus on building your reputation within the organization at large.

Your insecure leader will probably micromanage you; verbally abuse you; and just generally make your life miserable.  You live with that reality by finding opportunities in the organization to make contributions that identify your value to the firm.

At least then you will have the security of knowing other influencers in the organization know your positive impact on the firm.  Such awareness on their part should give you some sense of career stability even with the unpredictability of your immediate boss.

Of course, there is also the ultimate solution as noted above.  Find another job with a leader who shares your values!

So…you say your leader is of poor quality for a different reason.  S/he is myopic in the sense they are narrow in perspective and just downright small minded.b2ap3_thumbnail_MP900423100

What to do?  What to do?

Well, all these characteristics of poor leadership are tough to deal with and this one is no exception.  But, like all of them you always control the choices you make to deal with them.

With any of these negative leadership characteristics in play, the leader will tend to focus on things rather than people.  They won’t see the potential in engaging people in a team effort to solve problems; meet goals, etc.

That certainly will be the case with a myopic leader!  A myopic leader will “tell” people to be motivated not “touch” people to be motivated.  The effect is temporary and lasting positive change in productivity is impossible.

Here’s what to do about it so you can live with it if you choose to.  Focus on trying to open the lines of communication between you and the leader.  Help her or him see the potential in creating an environment of synergy.  Here’s a link to a great little article that explains why your efforts in this regard could payoff.

Of course, there is also the ultimate solution as noted above.  Find another job with a leader who shares your values!

anemones-793397_1920One of the key disciplines taught in basic military training has directly to do with the final negative leadership characteristic as mentioned above:  self-protective.

A military trainee learns very quickly the best self-protection is through best efforts at protecting the backs of teammates.  It’s “one for all and all for one!”

The self-protective leader thinks in exact opposite terms.  S/he will generally have a total lack of concern for others.  It’s “one for me and me for one” with those kinds of poor leaders.

The solution for you when being led by such a leader is to reach out beyond the leader.  Don’t reach out to others in a threatening way to the self-protective leader.

Do it by helping the self-protective leader see how your strategy will actually be more protective of the leader.  Help him or her see that by you engaging with others you actually are better able to “have the back” of your leader.

Yes, you might think this solution is somewhat manipulative of the poor leader.  But…if you want to survive with a self-protective leader and remain productive in your career, you really have no choice.

Scratch that!  Of course, there is also the ultimate solution as noted above.  Find another job with a leader who shares your values!

As I said in the description of this post, life is too short to let the imperfections of the leaders in your life destroy your vision and purpose.  Hopefully, my ideas have been helpful to you.

garylogonewbrownsmallWhat is the first choice you are going to make in effectively dealing with poor leadership?  Will it have to do with improving your leadership skills or that of someone you are supposed to follow?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.  

Share this information with others by following the social media links at the top or bottom of this post.  Thank you.   

Crop of GNCC ShotMindstate mentor, author, trainer and speaker, Gary Greenfield (@LifeRider) provides self-employed people inspirational insight and concise business ideas to help improve mindstate and minimize stress. He believes a mindstate that is positive and stress that is minimized helps self-employed people better profit through performance.

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