Last week I began to have extreme sensitivity to hot and cold when I ate. I knew that meant I had a tooth that was in need of attention. After two trips to my dentist for x-rays to pinpoint the problem I went to an endodontist who performed a root canal on the offending tooth.
The mere mention of a root canal makes some people cringe but with high speed drills, modern techniques and going to a guy who knows how to numb everything just right, you really don’t feel a thing. The worst part is you have your mouth open for about an hour with a thing attached to your tooth to catch all of the drilling debris. This makes it hard to swallow so as saliva builds up in your mouth you need to resist the thought you are choking.
So this experience reminded me that sometimes we find ourselves trying to do our job in an organization with an ineffective leader. The leader may be insecure, incompetent, selfish or controlling, or worst yet; all of these things. You find yourself very frustrated and it’s affecting your attitude. So what do you do?
Here are some suggestions from John Maxwell’s book, “The 360° Leader.”
- Develop a solid relationship with your leader – don’t create an adversary, get to know him and find common ground
- Identify and appreciate your leader’s strengths – a hard job sometimes, but find them and think about how they might help the organization
- Commit yourself to adding value to your leader’s strengths – look for ways to use his strengths
- Get permission to develop a game plan to complement your leader’s weaknesses – hopefully the leader will admit to you his weaknesses and you then find people who can be empowered to do the work in these areas the leader is weak
- Expose your leader to good leadership resources – Suggest books, CDs and DVDs that have helped you
- Publicly affirm your leader – look for ways to showcase the leader’s strengths to others
So if you find yourself following an ineffective leader and are not prepared to deal with it positively, then you would probably be better off with a root canal; less painful.