Not everyone should be a leader.
Patrick Lencioni of the Table Group recently published a book, The Motive, in which he suggests that fewer people should become leaders. The litmus test is simply whether people are leading for the right reasons.
Lencioni spoke about the principles in a conference last week. You can watch his 30 minute discussion below or on YouTube.
If you don't have 30 minutes, here's the gist: If you approach leadership from a rewards perspective, you're likely to do more harm than good. Ideally, people choose to be leaders out of a sense of responsibility. Leaders cannot, Lencioni says, delegate or abdicate the following responsibilities:
Having difficult and uncomfortable conversations - with direct reports, vendors, customers, and others in the organization. All kinds of problems result from leaders failing to "enter the danger" to have these conversations.
Holding people accountable.
Managing direct reports.
Running great meetings. If you're having bad meetings, you're making bad decisions.
Over-communicating to the organization (acting, as Lencioni puts it, as "chief reminding officer.").
So, if you're a leader, have you accepted these responsibilities? If you're not a leader yet but thinking about it, do you want them?
And, even if you are a responsibility-focused leader, Lencioni urges you to be careful. You need to regularly examine whether you're motivated by the right responsibilities and whether you're motivation shows up in how you tackle those responsibilities.