I've always been a good soldier. I like strong leaders with passionate vision. I like going on a mission. I like opening my pen and pouring my words into supporting a CEO with world changing ideas.
And I've paid a heavy price for that.
I'd say it's mainly on me. I made the choices. I made the commitments. I ignored the warning signs and advice pouring in from friends on the sidelines. Be careful. They're not what they seem. They won't keep their word. Hell, no, I declare, this leader is a leader of all leaders! That's me. Mr. Enthusiast.
So what's the lesson?
Don't get me wrong. I have followed great leaders. I have been mentored by giants. It's just that not all giants are equal.
So what are the warning signs, what are the differences to look out for? When you sign on the bottom line is it a bottom line of prosperity? Or a bottomless pit?
1. If the vision statement is the same vision statement over and over again with no forward motion, beware. A great leader starts somewhere and goes somewhere. A continual pop of a starter's gun, or a constant reorganization and a barrage of 'new plans' is usually a bad sign. Look for the exits.
2. If company turnover is high, if the only momentum is forward momentum and damn the torpedoes, and company partnerships fights are long, loud and fatal, head for the nearest window and jump.
3. If your intrepid leader has an enemies list and see the world as enemies that must be defeated, give them a big hug and adios.