(This is part 7 in the “There’s a Me in Team” series. Read part 8 here.)
Certain words are fun to try to say. This morning I heard television personality George Stephanopoulos say the word “Quinnipiac”, because he was referring to the presidential election poll orchestrated by Quinnipiac University. I wondered, “What was it like for him to say ‘Quinnipiac’ for the first time?” It seems like a fun word to say. I haven’t said it yet, but it’s going to happen. I think I’ll like it more than saying ” Stephanopoulos”.
Here’s another word that seems like fun to say, but it’s not that much fun to experience: Abdicate. The first time I heard that word was with reference to British King Edward VIII, and how he “abdicated” the throne in 1936 so he could wed American socialite Wallis Simpson. It meant that he sort of gave up and stepped aside.
In leadership, abdicating takes place when a person stops bringing both Support and Challenge. Take a look at the matrix one more time.
I’ve mentioned that these quadrants are color-coded, and I’d like you to think of Abdicator as gray. It’s lifeless; it just lays there.
Have you ever been around someone who was abdicating? Of course you have. The common experience is that someone doesn’t care or they’re avoiding something. Maybe they’re out of gas and are just stepping off. Close to retirement? Absent while present. Abdicating creates a culture of apathy and low expectation. If the leader doesn’t care–doesn’t bring support or challenge–why should the followers care either?
And here’s another, more penetrating question: Have you ever abdicated? (Of course you have.) In any of your five circles of influence (self, family/friends, team, organization, and community) it’s possible to abdicate. You could liberate at home, dominate your team, protect yourself, and abdicate in your community, all in the same day.
Next time we’ll look at ways to improve. When the Me in Team abdicates, everyone suffers–just see the latest Quinnipiac poll.