Raising the level of your leadership

Side Effects

It must have happened something like this:

Henry: “Hey, Henrietta (Henry’s wife), this Loniten is a miracle drug. I feel great! My blood pressure is down to normal!”

Henrietta: “Yeah, and you’re lookin’ better too.”

Henry: “Why so?”

Henrietta: “You have fuzz on your bald spot—your hair is coming back.”

Henry: “Really? Wow. I wonder what brought that on?”

What we now know as Rogaine was originally an antihypertensive vasodilator drug used to treat high blood pressure. One of its side effects was (and still is) stimulating hair regrowth. So Loniten was repurposed from the heart to the head and renamed Rogaine.

Side effects aren’t usually positive. Listen to the fast-speaking part of drug ads and you’ll be scared to death by the “rare, but has been known to cause….”

Like drugs, organizations have a lot of side effects, usually caused by the leader’s style.

If you lead as a boss, the side effect will be that best and brightest in your organization won’t stay long.

If you use anger as a leadership tool, the side effect will be pervasive fear that buries the truth.

If the leader has favorites, the side effect will be losing the support and respect of the non-favorites.

If command and control is the leadership style, the side effect will be an organization full of yes men who never question or challenge decisions—even really bad ones.

If the organization is stuck and unwilling to change, the side effect will be obsolescence and eventually, disappearance.

I could give a lot of other examples, but the point is, remember this: everything you do—at work, at home, at church, etc.—will have a side effect. It is up to you whether it will be positive or negative.

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© Copyright 2013 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company

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