Why Great Leaders Never Try To “Fix” Others

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By Jas Singh

There is a common misconception in management that employees who are not performing well must be doing something wrong.

That for things not to be going the way they should be, something is broken.

Something needs fixing.

And so we’ve all experienced the endless meetings and appraisals where management tries to “improve” our performance.

Check-lists. Daily updates. Or worst of all – having to seek approval before we do anything.

It’s almost as if some managers believe that they have this unique power to change people.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Great leaders understand that no-one ever needs fixing.

Here are some reasons why great leaders never try and fix others.

It builds resentment

Leadership is about serving others.

Not taking control over other’s lives.

That’s called dictatorship.

There is nothing worse than telling another person that they are not good enough. Or that we are better than them. It’s a sure fire way to build resentment quickly.

Great leaders understand human nature. They realize that the start of any big change comes with belief internally. People change when they believe they can and they should – not because hundreds of others think so.

Those who are treated as unworthy will be sure to fight back twice as hard.

Great leaders are sensitive to others.

It rarely works

Several studies have shown that giving people advice rarely works. In fact, if that advice is unasked for, it usually backfires.

As cognitively advanced beings, most of our behaviors and beliefs are determined by habit – what we do day in, day out – and isn’t something that can be changed easily in one conversation, meeting or seminar.

It’s why people often knowingly go through decades – even entire lives – reading book after book but still are unable to overcome the problems they have.

Even the most talented or skilled person in the world will be unable to make even slight changes in another person if the other person is not ready to receive their advice.

The only way advice or coaching works is in the rare instances when you are askedfor it.

When the other person has sought your advice proactively.

Great leaders realize unsolicited advice is rarely digested.

There is no fix

But perhaps most important of all, the main reason why great leaders never try to “fix” other people is because there is no miracle cure.

The great thing about us humans is that we are so different.

What works well for one person may not work for another. We’ve all experienced two people achieve huge success using totally different – even totally opposite – approaches.

They key is never to think that people have something wrong with them.

It’s to know that everyone is amazing in their own unique way.

Great leaders help others discover what works for them.

To discover who they really are.

Conclusion

No-one wants to fail. And most of us don’t want others to fail either.

But jumping in and taking control of others is not the solution. Whatever anyone’s position in an organisation.

No-one can ever be broken.

But from time to time, all of us get lost.

Next time you see someone struggling, will you help a lost person?

If you’re an experienced professional and would like to discuss leadership opportunities please reach out here

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