“Lone Ranger” Leaders

I’ve been working with a leadership team where three out of four people are aligned around organizational goals, while the fourth is singing to the tune of his own agenda.

Although this leader is valued in his role, if he doesn’t work to achieve alignment with his colleagues, over time it will infect the leadership team.

Importantly, alignment does not mean that everyone agrees with every topic discussed. Far from it! Discussion is vital to achieving greater understanding through hearing different points of view.

That said, the longer a lone ranger beats to the tune of his own drum, the more disruptive it will be for this leadership team to work collegially.

You don’t want to confront a lone ranger with threats; rather, start out by understanding the person’s point of view. Point out why his or her behavior can derail the company’s goals. Work towards understanding why the person is so resistant.

This CEO wants to discover why the lone ranger is on his own path, which is noble, but the bottom line is that trying to figure out “why” may take a long time, and will most likely continue disrupting the other leaders.

When a team aligns, the results are far superior to when it operates disparately. Think of any high functioning sports team as an analogy.

Lone ranger leaders are often people who were super-talented in whatever their area of specialization was before someone moved them into leadership roles. A great salesperson, for example, has the competencies to bring in profits for a company, but not necessarily the skills to manage and develop other salespeople.

If you have a situation like this, it’s best to nip it in the bud before it spins out of control. An aligned leadership team can accomplish so much more in a short period of time than limping along because one person is a rugged individualistic.

Header image by Tim Miroshnichenko/Pexels.

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