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Posted on May 24, 2011 in Leadership

Lessons in Leadership from Boston Rob

Since Kevin and I talk about Survivor from time to time, I wanted to share two lessons I learned from Boston Rob this season on Survivor:

1.) Most people would rather be led than lead.

I was so frustrated with most of the people on Survivor this season. Especially those on Boston Rob’s team. I can’t understand why no one would stand up and try to take the narcissistic leadership belt from him. Rob would tell people what they were doing, and everyone would just do it. I just didn’t get it. If people were going to be basing their votes on who played the game the best, and Rob was the only one playing the game, wouldn’t he win?

2.) It’s easy to use people instead of lead people.

The other thing I noticed that happened this year (as has happened many times in the past) is that it’s easier to use people to accomplish your goal than to lead them to accomplish the best goal. All Rob did was figured out how to get people to do what he wanted and got them to do it. That’s not leadership, that’s manipulation.

Leadership is more work. It’s harder. Much, much harder. There is an aspect of leadership that is sacrificial, sometimes you have to do what’s best for the team, even if it’s not what’s best for you or what you want. People follow that kind of leadership. People eventually sniff out the narcissist and move on. Sure Rob could get people to do what he wanted for 39 days when they were tired and hungry, could he get them to do so for years when they’re not in the same condition? Possibly. Not likely.

So, I would just encourage you to evaluate the way you are doing leadership. Are you leading people or are you simply manipulating people? Sure it can be fun to get people to do what you want them to do. But leading people, caring for people, shepherding people is rewarding. Manipulation is something insecure people do, leadership is for the secure. Manipulation is selfish, leadership is selfless.

Leadership is a higher goal, are you aiming for it?