REALITY #1: Not everyone is a leader.

Regardless of titles, ranks, organizational flow charts (organograms), seniority, degrees, inheritances, or any other forces that put someone in a position of leadership, it’s undeniably true that not everyone is a leader. Unfortunately and as a result of that stark yet simple reality, many organizations are being led by LINOs (Leaders in Name Only). They are a soberingly real part of many organizational leadership structures. In some settings they are benign, nonthreatening placeholders awaiting the arrival of the next real leader. In other settings they are troublesome impediments to progress, problematic forces of interference, and disruptive purveyors of all that depowers and confounds even the best of organizations.

LINOs can be very dangerous to an organization, the people in that organization, and the constituencies that organization serves. If you’re a LINO, have enough respect for yourself, the organization you serve, the people associated with it, and those it serves, to actively begin building your leadership skill set while working to expand your base of experiences. Commit to becoming a better leader. Come to terms with the fact that you may well be in over your head. And if you are, purposefully and unassumingly seek the help that you need, then make the most of it. Many great leaders had to grow into their positions. It can and often does take time and considerable effort to do so. Be patient yet persistent in your efforts.

If, on the other hand, you are either unwilling or unable to do so, step aside and make room for a capable leader. Otherwise, you and those you are to be leading will drift aimlessly like a ship without a rudder. All the while you, a LINO, will be the one continually struggling to gain control of the ship’s wheel in your hands.