Sometimes leadership can be a lonely assignment. Add a few layers of complex relationships, regulatory interference, a host of third party interests, and before long the years are grinding along and you're stuck in the same place. Let me state for the record that no one deserves to be in "that place."
Lonely = Network-less
Sometimes we come across leaders who, once capable and motivated, have now slipped into a state of perpetual plodding. Often they don't even realize how far they've fallen until someone reaches out to them. This is more than the proverbial forest from the trees conundrum; this is about leaders who are literally slipping into irrelevance before our very eyes. If we know someone who appears to be at such risk, what should we do? Intervene - and risk insulting them and damaging our relationship? Ignore - and risk carrying the burden that we might have made a difference had we only taken action? The answers are not easy, nor should they be taken lightly.
Leaders Take Action
For me the answer is clear - intervene in the most supportive and non-threatening way possible. But intervene nonetheless. It's not about saving someone from them self, nor is it about an over active hero-complex. It's about doing the right thing, which the last time I checked was always the thing to do.
How About You
Who do you know that is heading down the slippery slope of irrelevance? Sure, they should try to help themselves if they can. But sometimes that's not so easy. Can you pinpoint when the passion in their work faded away, and the routine of paperwork, bureaucracy and excuses took over? It doesn't matter if you can, really. What matters is what you're going to do next.
I'd love to hear from you.
pic courtesy of mallindesign