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Who is the Real Problem?

“What’s the biggest challenge in leadership development?” someone asked recently. I knew the answer. It’s been validated for me year after year after year by many leaders.

The answer: People in leadership positions who manage but don’t know how to lead and think the problem is everyone else.

Leaders who call me should say, “My organization isn’t where it needs to be. I know it’s due to a lack of leadership at all levels, and the root cause is me. I want you to help me become a better leader, so I can help my leaders be better leaders for our entire team.”

However, that’s not what most (some do) leaders say when they call. It’s more like, “My team is really struggling. They blah blah blah. They blah blah blah. They...”

I’m sure you get the picture.

If a leader’s team is struggling to perform, it’s because the leader is struggling to lead. The team is always exactly where their leader has led them.

Until a leader is humble enough to know this without being told, they will continue to struggle.

There are some leaders that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them. I seldom try. I simply choose not to work with them because they don’t want to work on the real problem (themselves) and prefer to work on the perceived problem (their team) which is a symptom of the real problem.


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