Leading the Floundering Leader
A few weeks ago we started a discussion about The Floundering Leader. We talked about how to encourage and support the flounder-er and what to do if you are the one floundering.
That discussion got me processing another side of this issue…
What happens when you are trying to lead someone who is floundering in their leadership?
And if everyone flounders from time to time (which I believe they do), as a leader of leaders you are going to find yourself leading a floundering leader at some point.
And here’s my concern… I think sometimes we give up on floundering leaders too soon. We think they just can’t cut it. We think the job’s outgrown them. We point out everything that is wrong and rationalize why they should have handled it differently.
As leaders of leaders, this is where it gets really tricky. How do you know if someone is really failing or just floundering? Floundering can look an awful lot like failing for a season.
Before you give up on someone too quickly, let me challenge you to consider a few things:
- What can you own?
- Where could you have provided better direction?
- Have you been too controlling or too hands off?
- Have you, in your busyness, been ignoring the warning signs that this leader was struggling?
- Is there something that you can do to lead them better?
- Do you understand what they need to succeed?
- Are they willing to try?
- Are you engaging the tough conversations and providing them candid, considerate, honest feedback?
- Does this leader feel safe being vulnerable with you about what they are struggling with?
Before you give up, be sure you’ve done your part. You set the tone and create the culture that allows leaders to thrive or flounder. Do your best to give them every opportunity to thrive!
Have you ever given up on someone too quickly?