You may have heard the quote “New levels bring new devils” It’s been attributed to many people and it’s so true. As we move up towards our chosen goals, new devils, new temptations, new opportunities will often present themselves. Often as we get closer to our desired outcomes, we are waylaid by these new devils. It’s been relevant right through life and will continue to do so. It’s a factor of life.
If you were to check on on Amazon under the search terms “levels of leadership”, you will find John Maxwell owns that space with his best seller “The Five Levels of Leadership”, among a plethora of books by authors like Ken Blanchard, James Clawson, James Scouler, and others.
Both of these aspects are different from our current scenario we face. The scenario of the levels and devils of leadership.
I was once told by a wise man, and yes West, I’m calling you a wise man, who told me that we all get promoted to a level of incompetence. True. In my experience I have seen that many times. Whether it’s the technical expert that gets promoted to lead people with no idea how to lead people, the ladder climbers walking over people to get to where they want to be, the political animals who play the game. I’ve seen it. I’ve been led by people who have been promoted to their level of incompetence and maybe you have as well.
We all get promoted to our own level of incompetence. But for me, the levels and devils of leadership is not just about incompetence, it’s also about character. Because it’s very visible today, the higher the level, the greater exposure , the greater the character flaw, the more visible it is seen. The levels and devils of leadership.
Leadership is a noble pursuit in many ways, we talk about servant leadership, leadership from the heart and serving others Simon Sinek wrote about this is his latest book, “Leaders Eat Last”. Leadership is not about the leader, it is about they serve. However when the agenda of the leader does not align with this is when we see the devils of leaders.
And the greater the level, the greater the devil. It may be very visual at the moment, incredibly public, buts it’s the case at many levels. In the work we do, we hear many horror stories. We have had feedback in relation to leaders powering up on their people, from day one induction, to constant states of bullying and harrassment frome leaders at all positions, front line through to senior leadership.
Thankfully many reach their level of incompetence early in their careers. The quest for power creates devils and the higher they go the more dangerous they become.
The higher the level, the greater the exposure. The greater the exposure, the greater the devil. Think about that. The higher the level, the more flawed the character, the greater the devil we see and feel.
I hear many sporting clubs hire for character first, they want solid citizens as well as talent. Of course they want talent and sometimes talent is the bigger component of the recruitment engagement. They make mistakes. Again, the higher the level, the greater the devil comes true. When a sports start stumbles in character, it makes front page news. The higher the level, the greater exposure to your character flaws. The world finds out, warts and all.
We see it. Leadership is an intentional act…. it can be unhinged on emotion and leaders should be aware of that. If you’re relying on your natural leadership ability, you will be exposed just as an athlete relying on talent alone will be. If you’re not prepared to work on your craft, you’re preparing yourself to be exposed.
The levels and devils of leadership. Don’t fall prey to it.