Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Are You A Bubble Leader?

Note: In honor Janine being a mom again, I wanted to re-run a great guest post!

If you were privy to the thinking of an employee lead by this kind of leader, I'm pretty sure what you'll read in this post would certainly be part of it. Our guest blogger offers a candid voice that many leaders need to take to heart.  Thanks Janine!

The Bubble Leader
Are you the bubble man or woman of leadership? It sounds silly but it is an important question to ask yourself. Do your ideas, initiatives, and processes reside in a vacuum? If yes, you are the type of leader that becomes nauseous at the sound of an employee implying that benchmarking or crowd sourced information be solicited from the “others”.

You know the “others”. Those are the people with the progressive companies, innovative ideas, and inspired employees. You probably have none of that because everything you do is in a bubble. You don’t care what the latest and greatest is. You don’t really care if your competitors have a leg up on you. You are energized by the thought of anyone or anything that is mediocre, standard or the way things have always been done.

The air out there stinks of new, promise, and change. Those are three words that have never crossed your lips. You figure if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Never mind that your processes are burdensome, antiquated, and inefficient. Those three words should give you pause.  It should make you lose your breath. You are stifling progress. You have been lucky to work with people that enjoy your abstract world. Interestingly enough, you claim to want new blood and fresh ideas-yet you have failed to deal with the issue at hand- you work in a bubble.

Innovative people draw inspiration from everyone and everything. They will never understand your need to stay status quo. Instead they will flee with their fresh ideas and inspiring dispositions. This problem of working in the bubble affects everything. No progressive thinkers, no progress or change. No progress or change, your competitor crushes you and your business fails. The sickness you feel in the pit of your stomach when innovation or something new is put forth has little to do with the actual initiative and more to do with an insecurity you have to let go and let ideas thrive. It is as if you think your job will be obsolete if you allow initiatives and your people moving and thinking in a forward fashion.

I have to tell you that it isn’t about you at all. It is about allowing for innovation and ideas to thrive. It is about making a job not seem so mundane and getting your employees to be inspired in the work that they do.  It is about diversity and inclusion of thought. 

That is to say that you are not the alpha and omega and maybe someone is doing what you do better. I don’t say that pejoratively, but I say that because perhaps you can learn from someone else’s triumphs and mistakes. 

There is a novel idea-doing things better-try it sometime. Doing things more efficiently and working smarter-these are efficacy quotients that make the work that you do matter in business. Either you are effective or you are not. When you are no longer effective, you are no longer with a job. How sick are you now?

The point is as a leader you need to exit your comfort zone and be open to different ideas on how things need to get done. Just because you have done something one way for twenty years does not make it right or effective. The bubble is a lonely place where ideas die. Step out of the bubble and let ideas and your employees thrive. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

An additional post by Janine and her complete bio: Every Job Seeker Should Be A Recruiter For A Day   Janine on Twitter: @CzarinaofHR

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness


  1. I find it incredibly challenging to work with bubble leaders. There are so many great idea that can be brought about by working with a team if you give them the space to share. I think a lot of leaders are fearful that they will be responsible for doing ______(insert new idea), but if someone is given the opportunity to take ownership for their idea they will take it an run with it. Great post!

  2. Nora,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree with you 100% What you mentioned about giving space to employees to share is what I meant about letting go. It takes an incredibly confident leader to let go of ego and allow their employees rise to the occasion and bring about innovation. Unfortunately, there aren't many and/or I haven't met one yet.

    I appreciate you reading the post and chiming in.

    Best Regards,

    Janine Truitt