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When the Rats are Jumping Ship!

If you haven’t had this experience first hand, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Everything seems to be fine until you run into stormy weather…

Then people scurry away like rats jumping from a sinking ship.

Working with leaders (and those who think they are) over the past several years, I’ve run into several who have shared some variation of this story. Once I hear the details, I usually have much more sympathy for the “rats.”

Why do some leaders enjoy unquestioning loyalty when facing a crises, while others find themselves quite alone when the water starts to flood the hold?

There are a number of variables, but the fundamental question is whether you’re actually a leader––or not. People follow genuine leaders––not managers.

Think about this. A genuine leader is someone with the ability to attract WILLING followers––and has the will to serve them.

  • A leader exemplifies the qualities of Courage, Compassion and Wisdom.

  • A leader is committed to the success of others first.

  • A leader knows that their power is solely dependent on empowering others.

  • A leader will accept blame, risk and responsibility before asking others to do the same.

  • A leader will share credit, authority and power without hesitation.

The manger who is not a genuine leader, on the other hand––manages. And that’s all!

A manager’s concern is often solely on the bottom line. A manager must control. A manager often sees people as “resources,” more human equipment than human beings.

Even worse, I’ve seen managers and executives facing adversity who immediately blame others for the crises. They bemoan their own suffering. They question the loyalty of people who have previously served them well.

Who would you follow in a crises?