HOW TO MANAGE THE iLEADER
You will not find the definition of the iLeader in the dictionary (at least not yet) like Beyonce’s bootylicious. That is because it is a word we just created. An iLeader is someone that puts themselves at the centre of the action be it among a group of people or organisation at large. They will tell anyone that cares to listen (and many who would have preferred not to) about their accomplishments.
An iLeader knows his/her onions. They are exceptional at what they do but lack the critical people skills to lead and sustain work relationships. They are driven and obsessed with results. How the result is attained is not a major concern. What matters most is getting the results and they know how to drive people to get it. Their approach, however, lacks empathy which can eventually wreck the ship beyond redemption.
In a day’s work, an iLeader can usurp other people’s ideas and take credit for it. They can pass the buck should their team fall short on delivering on a project and magnify their contributions upon successful execution of same. They can leave their direct reports out to dry and even invite aggression on them from superior colleagues.
Now I am not suggesting that iLeaders are bad for business? No. I do not think so. Just like an extremely talented athlete that is not team-oriented, they can be managed, coached, and mentored to become a better team player. There are a number of reasons why people turn out to become iLeaders. Background is one of them; say having to look out for themselves for survival.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MANAGE iLEADERS?
Put simply, their approach lacks empathy and focuses on delivering results. If you do not manage their excesses, it will certainly backfire overtime. They can drive employees to the point of burnout and burn bridges in their quest to deliver. And the outcome? Key employees may start leaving, results may start to dip in the long-term. And the interesting thing is that iLeaders can easily move on to other jobs because they have the “short-term” records to show for it.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE AN iLEADERS?
As aforementioned, you can train them because they are assets if you get it right. They are the type of “yes-men” you need to execute a difficult project like change management. And your coaching, training sessions and mentoring should address applying the soft skills so they can balance the approach and get the bus moving.
You can also separate powers to the point where no one can abuse their powers, and no one can undermine their superiors either. For instance, an iLeader (anyone actually) can frustrate an idea or block a major deal simply because the idea did not come from them, or they do not like the person behind the idea. It is a thin line, but processes and systems can be put in place to balance the share of power or decision making process.
You can also attach and align their deliverables to the success of other functions, units, or departments. For example, a general manager of a hypermarket whose deliverables or scorecard is attached to the performance of other departments like the butchery and confectionery department.
An iLeader can do more harm than good overtime and leave an organisation unscathed. That is why managing them is the responsible thing to do. Superiors trying to avoid office politics may sound like the best thing to do, but when the “chickens come home to roost” because of the iLeader’s actions, hopefully it will not be too late. The best time to get involved is now.
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