Reward-centered leadership vs responsibility-centered leadership
Why is Reward-Centered Leadership bad?
“Reward-centered leadership: the belief that being a leader is the reward for hard work; therefore, the experience of being a leader should be pleasant and enjoyable, free to choose what they work on and avoid anything mundane, unpleasant, or uncomfortable.” (p135)
Growing up, I can’t tell you how many times I heard this statement from entrepreneurs, business leaders and high-power individuals, “Once you’re the boss, you can do anything you want!” That was the picture of leadership I grew up with. In 2007, #1 New York best-selling author, Tim Ferris wrote the book, The 4-Hour Workweek. It was a huge hit! Everyone was reading it. Reclaim your life from work (as if work was a bad thing, which some of you may actually agree with)! Passive Income! Live your best life now! Stop the lie of the 40-hour work week!
At least this was the vibe the book put out (the title implies as much) and what many people desired to hear. Tim Ferris, however, would probably not characterize himself as lazy: began his own business while working at another one, published six very successful books, has a podcast with over 400 episodes! Tim Ferris is probably doing everything except working 4 hours weeks…
“There could be so many more fun things I could do with my time other working, especially on things I hate doing!” Reward-centered leadership starts with this concept in mind. If you’re the boss, then you get to do whatever you want to do. If you’re the boss, then you get to go golfing whenever you want. If you’re the boss, then you can always delegate decisions you don’t want to deal with. Why? Because you’re the boss! Why not?
So, what if one part of your business is failing? You can always appoint someone to be in charge of that, and if they don’t solve the problem, you fire them! Besides the golf course awaits with potential investors or buyer who you need to wow!
So, what if one of your kids is having a rough go at it? They put themselves in that mess… You didn’t do that. They have to take responsibility for their own life. Besides, they’re not as fun as your other kid(s) and they need love too!
So, what if you don’t have complete control of your drinking or your anger? You pay the bills. You bring home the bacon. Why can’t everyone leave me alone to watch my sports? I need my down time too!
The problem is, if you as the leader don’t take care of that which you’re responsible for, no one else is going to come save you from the rewards you are currently indulging in to whistle past the responsibility graveyard. If you avoid the mundane, unpleasant and the uncomfortable, the cancer will grow and the problem that you thought would go away on its own has become the nail in the coffin in your business, in your family or in your own life.
Reward-centered leadership takes away the one of the Leaders mains priority: to seek and eliminate problems that get in the way to success. It shifts attention from the loudmouth to the exciting development, from the lack-luster results to the company retreat. Leaders cannot turn a blind eye to problems. They are the ones who hold the line. Reward-centered leadership does just this, which is why this type of leadership is so dangerous to the company and the individual.
What are you avoiding in your leadership because you’re too good or have worked too hard to do now that you’re ‘the leader’? What is the mundane, unpleasant and uncomfortable work you must engage in to be successful in your field of work?
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