I am a leader. There are employees that report to me in a very formal sense. I give them direction, I influence the work that they do, and I have a direct impact on the tasks that they are assigned. I am also in charge of different volunteer groups. These are folks who give their time to serve/volunteer to help achieve the mission of our organization. They look to me to remove obstacles, communicate vital information, and train them to do their jobs effectively.
Sometimes I get it wrong. I forget to communicate some important piece of information. I miss a deadline that impacts the work they’re able to do. I drop the ball on obvious opportunities to recognize and appreciate the work they do.
But, even with all of my failures and shortcomings, I am not the most dangerous type of leader.
In most organizations, there are those that are leaders, yet they refuse to believe it’s true. People look to them to know the answers, provide input in decisions, and/or speak up about key initiatives. But, time and time again, they refuse to do those things because they do not look at themselves as leaders. Their response over and over is “I don’t know.”
But, even with this stance of refusing to fully embody the leadership role they have, they are still not the most dangerous type of leader.
So, who is?
I’m sure you know them. They’re everywhere. I have yet to work for an organization that doesn’t have this type of dangerous leader.
They can either be a formal or informal leader. But, regardless they have influence. Here’s the thing that makes them so dangerous:
This type of leader either has just enough information to make them feel like they know what they’re talking about OR they carry themselves in such a way that others think they know what they’re talking about, so they are believable as leaders.
Do you know this person? I know that I do…
This person loves to be the “go-to” person for information…but they often give false information. This person loves to be on the inside of information…but they are often on the outside so they begin to connect dots in a way that leads to them believing things that simply are not true. This person loves to influence others and feel important…but they influence them in a direction that leads to more problems and issues than if they would just not speak about a topic at all.
These types of leaders often have good intentions and, therefore, they must be managed carefully by those in the organization. The damage that can be done by these dangerous leaders can be irreparable and he/she can often exist in the organization long after you’re gone.
Have you ever dealt with this type of leader? What did you observe about them? How did you influence their influence? Comment below and let’s start a dialogue…