Great leaders are active participants in politics because they recognize that if they want to make positive change, have influence, and be a part of the solution, they must be active participants and not passive bystanders.
What this high-potential front line manager described is a macro challenge faced daily by not just him many leaders. The reality of the situation is that he didn’t have to choose one or the other. He had to commit to both. As a leader, he is responsible for the people who are responsible for the results.
While the position a leader is in often comes with built-in respect, it can’t and won’t sustain respect for an extended period. Respect is earned, and it’s earned through a lot of hard work and correct decision making. As Paulo Coelho said, “Respect is for those who deserve it, not for those who demand it.”
One of the most critical elements of leadership is empowerment. Which means “to give control over another’s life and the authority to do something.” The best leaders know it’s their responsibility to allow other people to make decisions where the information is.