Maxwell Monday’s: Stop sucking as a leader

Dear John,

Your buddy Alex here again with another one. I have been going through a lot of different videos of yours on leadership. I am listening to the audio for 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and currently reading Good Leaders Ask Great Questions.

Funny enough, the one advice you haven’t given is a simple one: STOP SUCKING AT BEING A LEADER.

This may appear to be a rant of some form, because that is exactly what it is.

The most amazing part of leadership I have experienced within my short years of life is that most leaders don’t know they are horrible at being a leader. They assume because they have a title, and they have been at the company for 30+ years they are now the best leader in the business.

They are close minded. They don’t listen. Nor do they care what is really happening with their customers at the ground floor. They would rather pay more money for ad placements and billboards and not take those dollars into investing into having better leaders.

But why? Why have you not shared this advice? Do you not want to hurt the feelings of leaders, or those who think they know how to lead? Should everything be given to us in a nice package of 8 steps, or 15 ways, or 7 reasons? I think it is time for leaders to just be called out. You suck. Plain and simple. But, don’t just leave it at that. Find healthy and productive ways to build and grow into being a better leader.

If the company is failing, the business isn’t generating income, and everyone keeps quitting at one point do you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “What am I doing wrong?” How do you know when to take the blame? How do you know when to apologize? How do you know when to fess up for messing up everything? Or, do you stay strong and pretend as if the fault belongs to everyone else around you except for you?

If a company continues to fail…as many have…The first thing they do is fire everyone. They downsize. They stop having the office parties (which aren’t really needed anyways). Taking away vacations. They switch to being “green.” But when does the truth come out? I think it is time for the leaders to come down from the 100th floor and find out what is going on with their people. The tellers, the customer service specialists, and anyone on the frontline has a good idea of the good and bad with the company. They have to hear all the problems that happen immediately. That could save an entire company if those little problems could be fixed.

It is time to get rid of the bonuses, fancy parking spots, and any other special perks and get to the core of leading. A leader doesn’t just delegate tasks and hope that everything works as it should. The company may not be the problem, it may be you. Stop sucking as a leader. Hopefully, this is your wake up call.


Alex “Nemo” Hanse