7 Things Leaders Should Know When They Have Been Put On The Bench
If you have ever been unappreciated, demoted, marginalized, talked down to, insulted, orÂ put on the bench, this post is for you!
The natural default mode for leaders is to lead.Â This is because leaders have a vision.Â It burns in their heart because this vision is a picture of a preferred future.Â All other visions are simply not as good.
So how should leaders handle it when they can not lead?Â WhatÂ should you do if you are regulated to the second chair or even lower on the bench than that?Â How can you avoid becoming bitter or cynical?
Before IÂ give those thoughts, let me remind all leaders to never confuse position with influence.Â Just because you do not have a title does not mean youÂ lack significant influence.Â It doesn’t mean you do not have the capacity to do incredible things.Â It does not mean that God is still not working in your life.
Now on to the key learnings:
One of my favorite leadership articles was a November 24, 2006 Sporting NewsÂ feature on back-up quarterbacks.Â ESPN’s Trent Dilfer, the bestÂ football analyst on television, was backing up the San Francisco 49ersÂ Alex Smith at the time.Â Here is whatÂ all leaders can learn from the brilliant Dilfer on how he handled not being the starter:
- Many Leaders InÂ Backup RolesÂ Were Once In Higly-Effective,Â Highly-Visible PositionsÂ -Â Dilfer was the starting quarterback on great teams in Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
- Loyalty And Support Are VitalÂ - Dilfer says, “Lots of backups areÂ posers, guys who say they are rooting for the starter but behind the guy’s back, they are saying to anyone who can hear them that they can do a better job.”
- Diffuse GossipÂ - Dilfer continues, “A starter struggles and a teammate tells the backup, ‘We have to do a better job against the blitz and the starter is not cutting it.’ The backup has a choice; he can say, ‘Yes, I would do it better,’ or he can be a man and say, ‘Everyone has to pick it up and help out the No. 1 guy.”’
- Use Your Influence To Improve ChemistryÂ - Dilfer understood the incredible capacity for good that a backup leader has.Â They can support the current leaderÂ which improves overall team chemistry.
- Build A Relationship With Your LeaderÂ - The relationship between DilferÂ and former Seattle quarterback Matt HasselbackÂ was very productive.Â HasselbackÂ credits Dilfer and his counsel with saving his career.
- Do Not Force Yourself On The LeaderÂ - When Dilfer arrivedÂ in San Francisco, he stated, “IÂ am not going to force myself on Alex.”
- Smart Leaders Take Advantage OfÂ The Leaders On Their TeamÂ - When Smith began to lean on Dilfer, his performanceÂ dramatically improvedÂ from his rookie year to his sophomore one.
Leaders, do you find this post convicting?Â Is there behavior that needs changing?
If you are in a senior leadership position, do you need to share this post to someone?Â More importantly, do you have a talented person on your team that if you leaned on them, it would improve your performance?
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