In his 2020 book “The Motive”, leadership author and speaker Patrick Lencioni lays out the right and wrong reasons for being a leader.  I saw Lencioni give his first talk on the book to a leadership conference in August 2019 where he quoted the tagline of the conference – “All leaders have influence” – and then said “and some of you shouldn’t !!,” a line that drew big laughs.

In summary - if you want to help and serve others, that is a good motive for being a leader.  If you want to be a leader for power, title, status, money, or to feed your ego, those are the wrong reasons to be a leader.

In his typical style, Lencioni describes the opposite of good leadership.  Here is the list of things that poor leaders hate to spend time on:

  • Difficult Conversations - Poor leaders avoid difficult conversations, such as timely, direct feedback when expectations are not being met.
  • Managing Direct Reports - Poor leaders either micro-manage their directs or say “I hire good people and leave them alone”.
  • Running Great Meetings – Poor leaders dread meetings, avoid them, and complain about them.
  • Team Building - Poor leaders regard team building as “soft” (not core) or “touchy-feely” and delegate it to subordinates or HR.
  • Repetition/Reinforcement - Poor leaders underestimate the need to repeat their key messages (strategy, etc.) multiple times or get bored with reinforcing them.

What are your motives for being a leader?  Think about when you tackled one of these important leadership actions and achieved results!