If a “leader” is the one with the vision and must stay in front of the team, can they ever really be understood by their “manager”? We are at performance review time at many legacy companies and it is a valid question.
I was asked this question in a coaching session the other day. The logic was that leaders are typically misunderstood because they see a future others cannot. Often the case, leaders visualize the work being accomplished in ways their peers and bosses cannot comprehend. If this is true and if their manager bosses are conducting the performance review, isn’t it better to conform to the legacy company norms and reduce risk?
This is probably the biggest risk a leader faces when in a legacy company. Many years ago I completed my master degree thesis on a very simple hypothesis, “Do managers know the difference between management and leadership and do they promote leaders or people like themselves?” (CSULB 1987) The statistical significant result of the research was not good news for leaders. Managers knew the difference and promoted those like themself. After years of reflection, the great equalizer became superior communication skills. A leader has to articulate their vision and approach far more than a manager following direction.
Have you seen leaders at risk due to not being understood? What coaching have you given them?