An army of lions

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[vimeo id="100992608"] Alexander the Great once said that “An army of deer led by a lion is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a deer.” Mark Sanborn, however, recently added a slight twist to the quote. He says that, “An army of lions led by a lion is to be feared most of all.” I couldn’t agree more with Mark. He highlighted a few stories of leaders at various organizations who are like lions and took charge of situations and ultimately made a great difference.

I think that too often organizations get bogged down in hierarchical structures with a command and control type environment. This won’t do much good when every little issue that surfaces needs to go to upper management before being solved. I mean if that’s the case, why even hire people? Leaders in organizations must empower people to be decision-makers. These are the people who make things happen on the go. Leaders who are effective don’t have a problem making room for other leaders and decision-makers to run their departments and their jobs for that matter.

Mark shared a story on his blog about a volunteer who did an amazing job dealing with a difficult situation.

Here’s the story:

“A volunteer at a nonprofit, filling in by answering the phones, took a phone call from a disgruntled donor. The donor felt unappreciated. The volunteer was able to communicate the gratitude of the organization for the donor’s previous support, thereby regaining his loyalty. In the end, the volunteer’s sincerity and belief in the work of the organization convinced the donor to increase his support.”

You see, when leaders empower people to do their work, it’s amazing what people can accomplish. Now in the story above, the leaders had taken a risk by entrusting the volunteer to answer the phones. Taking these risks can be difficult for leaders, but if they truly want an organization to grow, they must understand that they cannot be involved with every situation that develops. The organization simply will not grow if they don’t empower people. Leaders must delegate responsibility and trust people to do their work.

There’s no way to avoid this risk, but the thing that leaders can do is hire lions, like the volunteer in Mark’s story.  Remember that first-rate people hire first-rate people and second-rate people hire third-rate people. If leaders hire lions, they’re leaving responsibility in good hands.

Keep this in mind as you delegate and hire people and know that you can’t do it alone. I trust these thoughts have encouraged you today. If you have any follow up ideas, please feel free to respond below. Have a great day!