SCOTT DOW -
"In fast-growth companies, 'hero leaders' have a limited shelf life. So you've got to ask yourself, are you a hero leader?
- If your team depends on you for approval, answers, and decisions...you're a hero leader.
- If you tend to jump in and save the day by solving the more complex problems, mediating internal disputes, or doing the tough stuff yourself...you're a hero leader.
Hero leaders tend to get good results, and that's why they're heroes. But remember, leaders have three key responsibilities:
- Deliver results,
- Develop people, and
- Improve the work environment.
Heroes are well intended, but they don't develop people and they don't improve the work environment. If you're in a habit of solving the tough problems, mediating internal disputes, or doing the tough stuff yourself, you're teaching your people to depend on you. When you require people to seek your input, ideas, and approval, you're doing the same thing. You're teaching them to rely on you. And when your team depends on you, you're a hero leader. Now, sometimes teams need a hero, but you want that to be the exception, not the norm.
Over time, if your people are developing and the work environment is growing and improving, your team becomes less dependent on you, and that's a good thing.
When you're under stress, though, here's what you need to protect against...
Hero leadership is addicting. When you save the day, it feels good. There's a big sense of accomplishment. You dodge a bullet, breathe a sigh of relief, and get a pat on the back from the boss. That dopamine release in your brain triggers a sense of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation that makes hero leadership addictive. You can't wait to put your cape back on and swoop in to save the day because you get your next hit of dopamine. That's why hero leaders are typically highly motivated and hardworking.
At some point, hero leadership becomes unsustainable because there's only so much of you to go around.
Hero leaders typically come from smaller companies where the scope of your responsibilities allows you to be a hero. But as your responsibilities grow, you've got to reduce the org's dependency on you, or the Peter Principle is going to kick in. That's when people rise to the level of their incompetence. And that's why hero leaders have a limited shelf life."
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