Beware ‘Leader’s legs’
Mission Mindset delivered an experiential leadership and teamwork event for the top 120 leaders of Liberty Global. The programme begun as the sun rose over the Florida coastline. During this memorable event we were reminded of a phenomenon familiar from the Commando leadership training world- ‘Leaders Legs’.
During a physical task a leader can strike out ahead, seemingly charged with superhuman strength, leaving followers exhausted in keeping up or struggling behind: why? Adrenaline.
Charged with getting the job done the leader gets out in front, seeking and overcoming obstacles, excited by new experiences, anxious to deliver success. While followers will be enthusiastic and keen to succeed, they do not automatically feel the same degree of responsibility and will have other jobs to think about, such as communications or logistics. If leaders don’t get some basics right, they can become isolated, demotivational and fail.
‘Leaders legs’ are not just for Commandos to guard against: Leadership responsibility and autonomy are powerful motivators everywhere. To close that natural gap, sharing responsibility is vital. The basics are:
Articulating the vision/endstate clearly.
Listening to and engaging the team honestly and regularly.
Well, there’s a little more to high performing teams than that, but checking whether you’ve got your leader’s legs on isn’t difficult and worth doing from time to time.