As discussed yesterday the first flaw in granting favor to our favorites is that we rarely get challenged. Secondly, we pass up talent when we fall into the favor flaw. When you pack your team with people whom you bestow favor, you run a big risk of passing up other talents present in your organization.
Even this morning perusing through Twitter about the Super Bowl, Kurt Warner (@Kurt13Warner) commenting on Tom Brady’s leadership skills, or specifically about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization allowing him to use those skills: “I’ve seen too many times where ppl have great leaders but don’t think they need it.” (2/8/21) (full disclosure, I am not a Tom Brady fan, nor do I think some elements of his leadership style are good. Yelling at your teammates on the sidelines during a game and berating them is NOT a good leadership style for anyone).
My observation here is that we pass up talent and leadership in our organizations when we become too complacent about the leadership we have in place. We overlook people in our organization that have leadership talent or even deliberately ignore them. There is a lot of unrecognized and unused leadership talent left at the side of the road. This reality is particularly true in organizations that are successful, or somewhat successful. Because of our success, we neglect others within our organization who could contribute in a much greater capacity. Why rock the boat when everything (or mostly everything) seems to be going well?
But that is a flaw. Success today doesn’t guarantee success tomorrow. Even now, amid success, there are things you as a leader may not be seeing because the eyes of your chosen leadership team are not seeing them. You need people outside your closed circle of leadership to help you see.
Dear leader, there are people in your organization that have extreme talent you are not using or experience you are not tapping into. They may be “below” some leaders in the organizational chain, and that is the problem. Our hierarchical form of leadership has some fatal flaws embedded in it. This is one of those flaws.
The cause of this may simply be insecurity, defensiveness, and fear on the part of positionally placed leaders. They may fear someone leapfrogging over them, getting the glory they “deserve,” or challenging things they’ve done.
So how do you unearth this talent, and uncover leadership that is somewhere hidden within your organization? Look for the outspoken, the thinkers, and look into their past experience. Look for the customer-facing employees and those that have the most interaction with them. Look for the ones that are always asking why about your traditional procedures and the conventional way of thinking.
The talent that is lurking within your organization is no doubt found “under” other leaders.