Stupid leaders are a dime a dozen.
What they do looks the same through the centuries. Here’s what Cicero, Roman politician and lawyer who served as consul in 63 BC had to say, “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”
Habit #1: Repetition. You know the saying that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. Henry Ford, Mark Twain and Tony Robbins have been credited with this thought. Take your pick, they are all creative innovators, the opposite of stupid leaders.
When a leader fails to embrace a culture of change and innovation you end up with stagnation and pattern repetition.
Pattern repetition will bring down the best of ideas and people. Think of it this way. The passion of work is to be a creative problem solver. Once you solve a problem you get to a new one and the excitement and challenge is positive.
However, if you keep facing the same problem over and over, you have hit a pattern.When the tendency is to repeat foolish, ineffective, or self-destructive behavior, you are in the realm of stupid.
Habit#2: Avoidance. The tendency to look away or leave a situation that is uncomfortable is one of the major attributes of stupid leaders. They especially avoid conflict and as American philosopher Elbert Hubbard said, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”
Avoiders know what is going on, they simply prefer to let others tackle the dissention. In meetings, an avoider will leave when the situation begins to heat up. They will tell their second in command to handle the situation and only enter conversations when things have come to a happy conclusion.
While there is always an opportunity for growth and development, becoming self- aware is disruptive and stupid leaders let their fears keep them from engaging.
Habit#3 Denial: This group of stupid leaders are the true “Not Sees.” They pretend the world is great, business is wonderful and all is fine with the world. They do not have back-up plans and insist that the bottom- line will always be in the black.
Denying what is going on will not make it go away, it ensures that it will never be resolved.
These stupid leaders will always point fingers at others for not telling them the truth and when the truth is told they will pretend they never heard what was said and spend their time defending their position and blaming others for, well, for everything that can’t be seen through rose colored glasses.
Policies and procedures are often appropriate to the times in which they were created. However, by repeating, avoiding, or denying that times have changed and everything must be re-examined, stupid leadership gets even worse. Stupidity becomes mental blindness.
Help stupid leaders become smart ones. Speak up, speak out, stay centered and strong. Turn on the lights to look at our fast- paced digital world. Read books like Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe. Better yet. Read it and give it to a stupid boss.
The cure for stupid is communication and compassion.
Disrupt the traditional rules that no longer work. Help everyone begin to see with new eyes, see what they are afraid to see. You, right now, become the type of leader the world needs now. It’s about you, it’s about me and it’s about time.