Byron's Babbles

Into the End Zone


Lessons #24 and #25 in John Manning’s (2015) The Disciplined Leader may the the toughest for a leader in my opinion. Lesson #24 deals with crossing the line. On the MAP Blog John Manning told us that the following are times when a leader tends to cross the line:

  • serving as a new manager or head of a team, division, department, etc.
  • overseeing former co-workers due to a recent in-house promotion
  • starting out in business ownership
  • working in a family business
  • creating a partnership

I would add one more scenario where not crossing the line seems to be a challenge, at least for me: turning around an organization that has a toxic culture or lacks a culture of excellence. Sometimes when building a collaborative culture it is easy to cross the line. We, as leaders, are trying to include everyone’s input and empower everyone where once no one was empowered. The lines become blurred. We must remember “…representing your team doesn’t mean compromising your authority to drive results and succeed. It means engaging with your team while keeping its best interests at heart, within the framework of your leadership responsibilities.” (Manning, 2015, Kindle Locations 1369-1370). Then it really becomes about perception; and, we all know that perception becomes reality. img_1643-1

We have to be careful not to give the perception, or create the reality, that friendship is driving career potential. Particularly if you are in a culture where this was happening. Even in an environment where future are leaders are being developed, much like what we are doing with our Focused Leader Academy. When top talent begins to rise and we begin to give more responsibility to those who can handle it, it give the perception of favoritism. Therefore, we must work consciously to make sure and empower all and differentiate responsibility according to abilities. If everyone is empowered, it helps to lesson the chance of crossing the line. I blogged about empowerment here. I believe it is extremely difficult when building and developing future leaders to not get really close to the line or even edge over it a little. I’m just being honest here, and I believe if any leader reading this is honest he or she would say the same thing.
It is important to take Manning’s (2015) advice to heart when he said, “Evaluate your current relationships with your team to determine if you are crossing the line with an individual or the whole team.” We owe it to our teams to not compromise our core values by not crossing the line.

Manning, J.M. (2015). The disciplined leader: keeping the focus on what really matters. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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  1. […] I wrote the post Into the End Zone I said that Lessons #24 and #25 were ones that I believe are some of the toughest leadership norms […]


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