Even Leaders Have Leaders – How Do We Sort Out Who Leads Whom?

By Michelle Malay Carter on December 15, 2009 

Who can be a cognitive thought leader?Employees Crave True Leadership
Employees?don’t begrudge being led.? They resent being asked to submit to the leadership of someone who doesn’t add value to their thinking.?

Management Myth Busted
Simply having?more experience does not automatically qualify someone to be a thought leader for anyone with less experience.

Danger, Danger – Promotions by Tenure
Many a mistake has been made promoting by tenure (aka experience) when the decision should be based first upon the promotion candidate’s cognitive capability for higher level work.? Knowledge, skills and experience play a part, but they mean nothing if the?candidate cannot handle the complexity associated with the higher level work.

Even leaders have leaders so how do we sort out who leads whom?
Fortunately, outside of organizations, no forced sorting is needed.? People naturally find and align themselves with those who can offer them leadership.? Within organizations, if we subordinate employees to a manager who is not more cognitively capable, the employees will suffer.?

Let the Disengagement Begin
When their manager “feels” like a peer, they will feel the inherent unfairness of the situation.? The may feel micromanaged.? They will ask for the big picture view and not receive it.? They will resent that their manager has the right to assess their performance, and they will be incredulous that their manager is paid more than they.??Their whole work?experience lacks integrity for them.

It’s Time to Create a Collective Understanding – Work Levels
Understanding requisite work levels has a partner reality – understanding the requisite cognitive level necessary to be successful in a given role.? When someone is not yet?cognitively capable of the work in a role, no amount of experience can fill the gap.

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Have you experienced being asked to submit to the leadership of someone who could not be your thought leader?? How did it go?

Filed Under Employee Engagement, Executive Leadership, Managerial Leadership, Requisite Organization, Talent Management, Work Levels


4 Responses to “Even Leaders Have Leaders – How Do We Sort Out Who Leads Whom?”

  1. Wellington Bellawa on March 18th, 2010 7:37 pm

    Iam interested i your materials and Elliot Jaques’s book “Requisit Organisation”

  2. Zoey on May 3rd, 2011 5:28 pm

    I am not sure you can always create a good leader. When you see someone who has people following them as if they would walk into battle with them, then you’re on to something.

  3. Graham on September 16th, 2011 10:15 am

    I am a great believer in the “Peter Principle”. This is where, purely through tenure, people are promoted to just beyond their own level of competence.

    I am sure many of us have come across managers who are simply out of their depth. The sad thing is usually they are ideally suited to their pre-promotion position.

    In the long run this promotion of people based purely on their time within an organisation, and not on their ability to do the job, has a detramental affect on us all.

  4. Susan Pinner on October 4th, 2011 4:33 pm

    It is not unusual to have a manager who seems “out of their depth” or weaker in areas than you. But to “resent that their manager has the right to assess their performance” is a sign that you yourself are not ready to lead. A true leader rises above these situations and naturally progresses. Someone who resents will simply stay where they are.