The reluctant “line leader”

20 02 2015

“As for whether I am a ‘new age guru’, I am not at all.  I help companies build employees who lead without title and become high performers.” ~Robin S. Sharma

Which came first?  The leader or the title?  Many newly promoted managers think that they are now entitled (pun intended) to lead, simply because of their manager title.  So, they try to swing that title around like a baseball bat.  They say things like “because I said so”, or “it’s my job to think, and your job to follow orders”.  They may use that title to get revenge on co-workers they didn’t like, or didn’t “get treated with the respect they deserve” before they got promoted.  They’re not usually managers very long, and they either melt-down, opt out, or otherwise go away (hopefully to take their next job having learned the lesson).  Those that survive this stage (you, as their leader, can help them avoid it altogether!) learn quickly to wield the title they have as sparingly as possible, and end up saying “please” and “thank you” a lot.

I’ve had several other line-staff leaders who resisted the move to management.  They were already managing the workload of their team, they had their peers looking to them for leadership when they didn’t know what to do.  These are the subject matter experts.  These folks are the high performers.  These are the folks that their leader goes to when they need an important project done right.  IF you have reluctant “line-leaders” like these, and they resist leadership offers, please be wise enough to point out to them that they’re already doing the job.  They might as well get paid for it – It’s an approach that usually works.

Speaking of Guru’s…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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