Realistic Leadership

As much lip service leaders give to squeezing the most out of their people, the vast majority of employees worldwide are significantly disengaged and work without passion. People daily fuel their hope for escape to greener pastures on LinkedIn. This cuts across industries and professions, education and salary levels. No amount of management bribes have the power to prevent or turnaround the disloyalty from work that fails to engage joy.

In this world, people don’t do their best. Low engagement and passion mean low levels of creativity, collaboration and learning.

After decades of coaching leaders and teaching graduate level leadership, I’m inclined to take an emphatically compassionate approach to the problem as a leadership problem. Leaders who struggle to be effective do not have bad teams. They are not bad people or bad leaders. They are simply unrealistic. Fortunately, being realistic is a learnable mindset and skillset.

Realistic leaders work from realistic expectations. This creates credibility with everyone they interact with. They work from agreements rather than assumptions, resulting in the kind of trustworthiness that gives them a natural charisma of influence. They don’t struggle or falter in unrealistic plans. Best of all, their wide open eyes and heart see more possibilities than other leaders who are otherwise unrealistic. Realistic leaders understand the power of being so.