It boggles the mind that current co-CEOs (James Gooch & Felicia Thornton) of Market Basket blame employees for the company’s problems. That’s a classic example of leaders who are no longer qualified to lead at the organization. Which got me thinking, when should any leader know it is time to step down? What are the signs you are no longer qualified to lead? Here’s my list:
1. You publicly blame your stakeholders for… anything
Accountability is good. However, all great leaders know you praise in public, criticize in private. If you point a finger of blame, you’re not leading. Leaders take accountability for their entire organization in public. They hold individuals within the company accountable in private. Great leaders distribute the praise but always pull in the blame.
2. You lack a passion for the mission
If you’re not passionate about that which you lead then you’re not going to give it your whole being. Passion does not require any outward behavior. Passion does require both the head and the heart of the leader. If you don’t feel both your head and your heart engaged in the mission, it’s time to turn over the reigns to someone who does.
3. You are dependent upon the income
This one’s often overlooked. However, if you are dependent upon the organization you serve for the financial well-being of your family, there is a problem. In short, you won’t be confident enough to make decisions that could negatively impact your career but are best for the organization and it’s stakeholders.
4. You are unwilling to listen
If you find yourself refusing to listen to others, either because you’re too busy or overconfident, then you are headed for failure. Many leaders have to do a lot of talking. But for all the talking one must do, you must do even more listening to maintain an empathy for those you serve.
5. You lack empathy for your stakeholders
Speaking of empathy… if you don’t care about those you serve then you cannot lead them. Give it up and find someone who does care.
6. You are willing to compromise your personal values
Call it ethics, morals or values – they must be firmly planted and unwavering. The moment you find yourself justifying a decision that does not feel right, it’s time to re-evaluate. This is how many of the biggest cultural failures begin: with a leader who compromised their values. Once the leader compromises their own values, the rest of the organization follows.
Those are all signs you are not qualified to lead at the organization. What signs would you add?