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The leader who didn't play well with others

Stephen Balzac | June 3, 2014
If a leader doesn't let anyone else shine, no one will engage.

Sadly, for the brilliant CEO, this was not the first time this sort of thing had happened. Having the Golden Horde sweep across the landscape of ideas, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake, is not something that any company can long survive. In such an environment, it is not long before people stop suggesting ideas, lest they draw the attention of that aforementioned horde. The board of directors came to the same conclusion and decided that it was time for the CEO's tenure to also come to a conclusion. He was forced out, and the company went on its way without him. Perhaps their ideas were no longer quite so brilliant, but they had ideas. Perhaps their plans were no longer quite so ambitious and clever, but they had plans. Perhaps their products were no longer quite so perfect, but they had products.

From this, we can draw several important lessons:

1. When you crush every plan or idea people propose, eventually they stop proposing ideas or suggesting plans. It is unwise for one person to be left as the sole source of ideas; just look at Apple after Steve Jobs.

2. Tearing people down does not motivate them. Indeed, it does precisely the opposite. If you want to motivate people, find ways to build them up.

3. If it can't or won't be built, it doesn't matter how perfect it is. Insert whatever you'd like for "it."

4. Having the best mousetrap today is less valuable than having a consistent, repeatable process for developing good, solid, buildable mousetraps.

5. Point 4 will only happen when you know how to connect with your team and build them up.

In the end, playing well with others might not guarantee that you will live happily ever after, but it helps.


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