Put your hose away

Wise leaders and high achievers come to understand that they can't hope to eliminate problems...and wouldn't want to.
- Dale Dauten

Why are so many managers ineffective leaders?

Because they are firefighters. When you become a firefighter, you don't lead anymore. You don't decide where your team is going. The fire decides for you. (The fire: whatever current problem has flared up and captured your time and imagination.)

The fire controls your life. You think you are controlling the fire, but the fire is controlling you.

You become unconscious of opportunity. You become blind to possibilities, because you are immersed in, and defined by, the fire.

If you're and unmotivational manager, even when you put the fire out, you hop back on the truck and take off across the company looking for another fire. Soon, all you know is fires, and all you know how to do is fight them. Even when there is no real fire, you'll find something you'll redefine as a fire because you are a firefighter and always want to be working.

A great motivator doesn't fight fires 24/7. A true motivator leads people from the present into the future. The only time a fire becomes relevant is when it's in the way of that future goal. Sometimes a leader doesn't even have to put the fire out. She sometimes just takes a path around (or above) the fire to get to the desired future.

A firefighter, on the other hand, will stop everything and fight every fire. That's the basic difference between an unconscious manager (letting the fires dictate activity) and a conscious leader (letting desired goals dictate activity.)

No comments:

Post a Comment