“Lead Me, Follow Me or Get out of My Way”

Time to Read – 4 minutes

General George S. Patton’s quote has never been more apt than it is today.

You know the people I mean – they are given every chance to be involved, to have a say, to show their true potential. And yet no matter what you say or do, they continue to undermine you as their leader, the organisation that pays them and most of all, the people around them.

With these people – the best name I have heard for them is corporate vampires, as they suck the very blood out of each and every day – the glass is not so much half full, more completely broken.

So, returning to General Patton, let us find forever a way to give these people two last chances, and if they do not take them, a third ultimatum. It may sound very direct and even aggressive; it has to be so, because people motivation has to be a two way deal – people themselves have to also play a part:

Show me your vision, your plan, your leadership – please show me the way

You don’t want to do that?

OK

Then, let me show you a vision, a plan, some leadership – let me show you the way

You don’t want to do that, either?

So, what exactly are you going to do?

Nothing

Oh well, at least I know

So, please forgive my moving on, but I won’t let you wear me down, or poison the air with your negativity, or stop me

You just stay there, complaining about your lack of chances or choices, or both.

Just get out of my way
With my love and best wishes
David
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8 Comments

  • Simon Gambold

    Excellent. Puts into words what i want to say to my team members who won't respond to my best efforts to engage them,Thanks

  • Peter Nisbet

    sounds like the latin phrase 'Duc, sequere aut de via decede'. Lead, follow or get out of the way !

  • Mike Keyworth

    Clive Woodward's superb Managament book 'Winning' summarises the impact of these individuals when he concludes that a disruptive element of his pre-2003 squad were “Energy Sappers”. They occupied 80% of the Management time trying to appease and incorporate their negaitive views on all and any new initiatives, an unacceptbale ratio and approach. It's a phrase that most folks can immediately identify and empathise with when considering a sub-section of the employee base (at all levels) in many major companies who's goals have no correlation with the collective. It's a book I thoroughly recommend both in terms of learning about management from a man who was judged by the harshest, objective measures and for it's sheer entertainment value.

  • Thank you Mike – I well remember you and I discussing these, many times, which in itself is time and energy sapping!

  • So that's where Patton got it from, thank you

  • Also receveid this from ColinDavid, in this day and age there is much talk of Diversity – thankfully this also applies to all organisations, and things like culture and Ethics. One of the most important abilities of a CEO is understanding and Leading thinking in Culture and Ethics in an their organisation, and indeed, acting as a role model. Leaders take risks – that is why they are leaders and often why they are successful, but they need to do this within the Law and the limits of acceceptibility. Clearly this was deemed not to be. We live in a “because I can” (do it / get away with it) society and that means sometimes people get caught. We need to be aware of our own personality factors which inhibit our analysis of things like that very helpful advice which was given by Lord Tim Bell, but sometimes our Ego (the switch to “what is good for me is good for the company”), our desires get in the way, or we fall foul of the “I can get away with it” thinking. Good for HP in standing up for it's Values. If Mark Hurd can accept he has “done wrong” and learn from this he could be an even better CEO for another company.

  • Paul Charlton

    There are so many energy sappers in this world. They do bring you down if you let them. I like to move on too. Let them be and move on.In an organisation there are bound to be people who just sit and moan. I have a few where I am. My advice is, if you don't like something, change it…or shut up.

  • Frances Kirby

    I worked in IT for 20 years and am now a qualified counsellor, so have 2 perspectives on this. I well remember this type of people who the company used to call “blockers” and how frustrating it was to have them on my team. However, as a counsellor my view is that these people need help.They may well have difficulty dealing with their emotions. They may also want to change things but lack the skills to do so. They may also be unaware how they come across and the impact they are having. Therefore it may be helpful to tell them that.But however frustrated you feel with them, it is unlikely they are doing it deliberately to wind you up. It may seem like that, but it is probably their unconscious need to get rid of their own pent-up feelings. We all constantly look for opportunities to do this eg: we have a frustrating journey to work and we tell the first person we see all about it. The difference with these people is they have years of pent-up feelings to deal with, like a “chip on their shoulder” weighing them down! So if you tell them how they come across, please do it in a non-judgemental way and don't be surprised if they are surprised or resentful at what you say. But if they can take it on board, then you can offer them some help eg: if you have an Employee Counselling Service ask them if they'd like to make use of it. And training in Emotional Intelligence, Assertiveness, Influencing, NLP, Team Working etc etc can all help. You may end up with an “engaged” employee as a reward for your efforts! If you leave them as a negative force on your team, you'll still have to deal with the fall-out they create. Whereas if you can help them become a positive team player, that could increase your team's impact enormously!

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