People often see a big title as a major accomplishment. Managers and executives get higher pay and more freedom to make decisions. It doesn’t necessarily make these title holders effective leaders. In fact, many of us have worked (or are currently working) for losers instead of leaders. Throughout the next month, I will share my views on losers and leaders in the workplace. This post was inspired by a tweet I posted that said “clout chasing has no ROI”. . .
So what does that mean? In my experience, I’ve been on teams both academically and professionally that were led by someone who was chasing their own popularity rather than the overall success of the group or the organization. You may have noticed clout chasers on your own team. They are usually the ones who have no success record, but hold a supervisory role. I knew a person who had a great title in fundraising at their company. On one occasion, this person told me that they lost a few grant renewals and hadn’t raised much money in the past year.
My immediate thought was, “How could a failure like this keep their position?” It seemed to me that the person was a loser and not a leader. Here’s why:
- Losers claim the success of their teammates to appear better, yet have no success record of their own.
- Losers co-sign on ideas in which they had input, and reject ideas that were created without their input.
- Losers separate themselves from the failures of the team to elevate themselves on their own platform.
- Losers throw team members under the bus to appear more valuable.
This person embodied all of the qualities of a clout-chasing loser rather than those of an effective leader. Clout chasers know how to play the system, yet they play dirty which leads to their lack of success. True leaders have positive relationships with all of their team members and have the success record to back it up. Clout chasers will never have the loyalty nor the success that effect leadership generates.
Aside from the title and salary, clout chasing has no real ROI. Without success, the lack of loyalty will eventually get these losers pushed out of their positions leaving them with no metrics to back up their clout. Interestingly enough, people continue to micromanage and clout chase their way to the top not knowing that it ends in destruction. Here’s your wake-up call. Don’t be a loser. Be a leader! One of my favorite quotes is, “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” Don’t step on everyone else on your way to the top, because no one will want to catch you when you fall. . . and yes, you will fall.
What are your thoughts? Does clout chasing hurt careers and relationships? Have you worked with/for clout chasers in your career? Leave a comment below.
Whenever I read about leaders like this, I think about how grateful I was for my first supervisor. He truly taught me how to lead with grace. As I fumbled around trying to understand my role, I watched him several times call a vendor to clean up my mess and tell them about the mistake that he made or that “we” made, even though it was my mistake alone. He knew that as a supervisor, not only were my successes his successes, but my foibles were his as well. Every mistake I made was met with the sentence “no need to beat yourself up about it, now you just know not to do that again.” He was awesome, and my workplace really isn’t the same without him.
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