A quick personal story came to mind while writing this blog:
I had a lot to learn when I arrived in the U.S.A 8 years ago. After passing my driver’s license knowledge examination, vision screening, and the road skills driving test, I was thrilled to finally get my driver’s license and started driving in Washington, DC.
I remembered driving home from work one evening after rush hour and I was not expecting much traffic. After driving for a few minutes, I got stuck behind a car while other lanes were moving at regular speed. I honked a few times to alert the car in front to move, change, or do something but there was no movement.
After standing still for about ten minutes with a little road rage, I decided to change to the other lane that has been moving at a regular speed and what I discovered was very alarming.
I did not know that I’d been standing behind a line of parked cars and that the road was zoned for street parking after 7 PM. I was even angrier with myself to have deliberately stayed behind a parked car.
Is it possible that people are not following you because you have a regiment and you are not moving? A leader moves!
A leader moves
According to dictionary.com, to regiment is to manage or treat in a rigid, uniform manner.
As a leader, you need people who are focused on maintenance. Such people are solid, stable, and stiff. They build structures and infrastructures to support your vision. Such people are managers, not leaders, they are interested in maintenance, not movement—a leader moves.
To be an effective leader, you need people who are focused on regimentation but it doesn’t have to be you.— T.D. Jakes
It is possible that people are not following you because you have a regiment and you are not moving.
When people always know what to expect when they come to your organization, you have a regiment. People will not follow something that doesn’t move no matter how much they love it!
Are you leading or maintaining?
As a leader, you need to ask yourself if you are leading your organization or maintaining it. If people are driving behind your leadership car and you are busy with upkeep activities—changing the oil, waxing the car, or changing the tire, as important as those activities are, they are maintenance, not leadership.
People don’t follow things that don’t move.— T.D. Jakes
If people always know what to expect when they come to your organization, why should they come? Why should people be excited about something that never moves?
As a leader, it’s time for you to be creative again, think again, get out of the box again, dream again, go after something that is challenging again, read again, study again, and prepare again, rather than doing things that are just regurgitation of old information.
To be an effective leader, you need people who are focused on regimentation but it doesn’t have to be you. However, if you are gifted in managing and maintaining things, don’t be the leader. Instead, get someone who can lead and help them manage what they are leading.
Find your place
Your ineffectiveness as a leader does not mean you are bad person, it might be that you are out of place as a leader and should find your place as a manager. Likewise, there is a difference between a teacher and a leader, just because you can teach does not mean you can lead; a leader leads and moves people.