What if there was a leadership rehab? The news is often peppered with celebrity figures from entertainment, sports, and politics who are entering rehab for drug or alcohol abuse. Although it must be stressful for them when their difficulties are made public, we salute their courage to face their addictions head on, and we should all be pulling hard for their success in facing those battles.
But it makes me wonder how many functioning leaders are hurting people all around them because of poor leadership habits which should call for them to enter a rehab of another sort: Leadership Rehab. What are some leadership habits that are as destructive as an addiction? Here’s a partial list:
- Blaming others for failures that are beyond anyone’s control
- Verbally abusing employees
- Mind games that send mixed messages so that employees never feel secure
- Creating a moving target for success
- Expecting perfectionism from others, while denying their own flaws
What is it like to be working with or around a leader in need of leadership rehab?
- Employees feel powerless
- Employees feel despair
- Employees feel conflicted
- Employees bond on the basis of surviving, rather than around vision
What are some things that a leader might learn or re-learn in rehab?
- The role and importance of Emotional Intelligence
- The importance of creating a shared vision
- The importance of taking responsibility for one’s own behavior
- The importance and ways to build or rebuild trust
- The genuine traits of authentic Servant Leadership
The hurts and destructive effects of chemical dependence can never be minimized. My heart breaks for people I know whose lives have been traumatized due to addiction, be it their own addiction or the addictions of others around them.
Leadership expert, Max DePree, poses a provocative question in the book Leadership is an Art. He asks, “What do leaders owe?” It’s a question that creates a lot of discussion. Amongst the things DePree outlines, I would add to it that they owe their followers a certain amount of emotional health, and that if they do not possess it, they seek to regain it with the same focus with which a person entering rehab for alcohol or drug abuse seeks to gain his or her sobriety.