Live Wire Leadership

When our precious energy is spent considering and wondering how our leader is going to react, little is left to consider and determine what our next steps need to be… 

As a child, I distinctly remember the many warnings from my mother to stay away from any downed electrical lines in the street.  I vividly remember the fear she imposed with her extreme cautioning to never go near or touch one of those lines, ever!  The over-counseling and cautioning for being safe.

My mother knew the real danger that accompanied those downed electrical lines, the danger that a curious little boy would neither recognize nor understand until it was too late.

Unfortunately, many leaders are like those downed electrical lines, their leadership like a live wire.  Sparking and hissing throughout the organization, raising concern and causing distress and fear.

It is when we encounter live wire leadership that we remember those warnings and cautions from our childhood.  We better now understand those hazards we were warned against, and we avoid at all costs.  We acknowledge and recognize the dangers that accompany their volatile leadership.

And we avoid…

  • We avoid feedback
  • We avoid taking-risks
  • We avoid interacting
  • We avoid anything that may bring notice to us, or our work.

And we begin to do everything in our power to lie low, to fly under the radar.

When we get to this point, the learning, the work, the environment, the culture, the organization as a whole and all within suffer and stagnate.  Avoidance becomes the name of the game.  Out of sight, out of mind becomes the “modus operandi” of the organization.

And the reality of the organization suffers, gets lost, lost on efforts to keep the volatile, live wire leader subdued.  The work becomes more about providing good news than providing real news.  As reality becomes distorted, the organization finds itself sliding down a slippery slope to irrelevancy.

As the whole of the organization focuses its efforts on the leader…

And for that reason, little, if any time is left for the real work of the mission, vision and goals.  The energy and focus of the organization becomes misguided, and the organization slowly strays from its path and eventually loses its way.

Which is why great leaders know and understand how to ignite and spark vitality into their organization, while live wire leaders zap the energy and life out of all within.

Leaders have to create the right environment, the right culture otherwise, risk-taking and feedback are like a live wire laying in the street, avoided at all costs.


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