14.08.20

You Can’t Lead Someone That You Need

In the past, as I look back on my leadership journey, if there was one mistake I made (and repeated even) it was trying to lead someone who I needed. 

What this means, is that I was so worried that my key resource/s would leave the team, or the business, that I needed them so badly that I was more worried about keeping them, than I was about leading them. 

This quote comes from one of my mentor’s Roy Macdonald, and I only heard it recently. When I reflected on it, it made so much sense, as leadership really is about leading with purpose and passion, not the fear of losing someone.  

Playing Favourites 

When you need someone, it clouds your judgement, and it means that you are not able to make the touch decisions, you are not able to have the tough conversations, and you are not able to treat each of your team members with fairness and equality. Yes, it means that you will treat people differently. There will be favouritism, unfortunately, and your team members will notice that. 

Yes, there will be a range of performance levels in your team, from the high performers, to the mid-level performers, to the under performers (who you are working with to help them develop their skills). The top performers don’t take up much of your time, they just do their thing, and make things happen for your team. They are self-motivated and committed to the team outcomes and performance measures. 

Self-Reflection 

So, if you feel like you have become ‘over needy’ of some of your team members, just reflect on it, and notice if it is causing you to treat that person differently to your other team members. It is a hard question to ask yourself. It is a vital question, though, if you want to be a leader that is see as being fair and equitable, and one that leads with consistency and care. 

Have you ever struggled with this challenge? 


Anton Guinea is the safety leadership expert. His journey is unique, having survived a workplace incident which he transformed from a cautionary story into powerful, psychology-based safety programs that has moved the hearts and minds of organisations globally. 
For 15 years, Anton has worked with over 150+ businesses and their leaders, to help make safety safe; safe to talk about, to engage in, and to report about. Working in the space of where Safety meets Leadership, Anton founded The Guinea Group as the safety support network to help businesses to LEADsafe365.
Get in touch with Anton today.

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