“I don’t think they play at all fairly,” Alice began, in rather a complaining tone, “and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can’t hear oneself speak–and they don’t seem to have any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends to them.”(Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 8)
Many men turn from Jekyll to Hyde when they get promoted, although I cannot honestly figure out why. With each promotion, the transformation continues. The further up the hierarchal ladder they move, the more concerned they are with title, possessions and their time. Instead of focusing on leadership their emphasis centers on control and status. The rules of business are quickly forgotten since they make up their own as they go along and rarely play fair.
When this happens, I actually believe that these promoted men behave like Pavlov’s Dogs. The more treats you put in front of them, the harder they work that is until they get where they want to be. Their focus on the treats is so intense that they forget how to share or interact with anyone else. Once they have achieved their perceived status, they no longer pay any attention to the rules of good management, which were the rules that once helped them get where they are.
I once saw a chief executive who abused his position so much that he would make 30 people change their schedules at the drop of a hat just to avoid changing his own private schedule. He would completely ignore the needs of the organization, the employees and base the needs of the business on what he wanted not on what made perfect business sense.
On numerous occasions, I have seen many young men that I promoted focus on the hierarchal ladder instead of critical management issues. Women are not exempt from this type of behavior although men exhibit it more often. I am writing this blog in hopes that as more women move up the hierarchal ladder, that some awareness towards this kind of this behavior will prevent this disease from spreading amongst promoted women.
Leadership is not about ownership and influence. It is not about the accumulation of status symbols (offices, cars, number of employees). It is not about having time revolve around oneself. Leadership is about guidance, the empowerment of your employees, the delivery of targets and the respect for others efforts, contributions and time.
Leadership is challenging yourself while engaging your employees. This will lead to success. Challenging your employees without supportive engagement will lead to failure. Remembering the rules of management, utilizing etiquette as the need arises is critical in successful leadership. Ignoring the rules will only result in resentment.
Take a look around you. How many times have you heard people say, “He changed after he got promoted?” Probably quite often, although the real question is what kind of change? With every promotion some changes are needed. Different responsibilities dictate the different interactions that must occur with different people. Sometimes a promotion dictates a change in priorities. While these are all normal changes that are respected by others, deviations from business values, ethics, communication, integrity and the respect for others are changes that are hard to accept.
Remember, when you are promoted, you are the same person you were yesterday. Your head should not grow as big as the Red Queen’s. You should not forget the rules of the game. The only thing that should change is your focus on what you have to deliver and your responsibility. Anyone with a head as big as the Red Queen will not be successful.