Many of us have been there: you report to someone that “doesn’t get it.” The frustration in the air is palpable. The leader of the group dictates the progress, the environment and ultimately the effectiveness of the team. The leader is the lid the team bumps up against in their desire to be more. Every […]


capped-potentialMany of us have been there: you report to someone that “doesn’t get it.” The frustration in the air is palpable. The leader of the group dictates the progress, the environment and ultimately the effectiveness of the team. The leader is the lid the team bumps up against in their desire to be more.

Every organization, every department, every team, board or division has a lid to its potential and that lid is its leader. The unit will only rise as high as the leader will allow it, either knowingly or unknowingly, based on the leader’s capabilities. This principle is very self evident in professional sports: change the coach and the future of the team is changed without changing players.

To codify this principle, first the leadership of a team leader in question must be rated on a scale of one to ten.  The score of the leader then dictates the score (quality of work or talent) of the team. If the leader is a six, the team members will at best be a six or below.  Even if there are team members that are higher in talent than a six on the team, the quality of their work will be held back to a six. Eventually due to this constraint an eight will move on (if they want to reach their potential). Thus over the long term, the team’s talent and work will settle to the score of the leader.

If you reflect upon either your past or present, all of us have come up against a lid. In reflection this principle is self evident. Now the hard part; if you are a leader, you are now the lid. You need to accept this principle to be true and accept the responsibility you have to yourself and your team.

Are you holding your team back or charging ahead? Is there a fluid exchange of ideas where you and your the team grow together or are your meetings one-sided dictations? Look in the mirror and ask yourself these questions. Better yet, have the courage to ask your team and truly listen.

You have a choice to make: to raise the bar, you need to raise your bar and you will raise the lid. The results will follow….or have the courage to get out of the way.

If you liked this blog you may wish to try:

The Leadership Gap

The top three qualities of leadership I learned from Mountain Climbing

Leadership doesn’t mean being out front