Leaders – Change This To Change Everything

by  David Dye  |  Self Leadership
Leaders – Change This To Change Everything

It happened again. I’d just finished a leadership program with a group of caring, committed professionals. They asked great questions, made important decisions for their own influence, and then it happened.

A middle level manager approached me and asked a question. It’s a common question. I hear it every time I speak – in the Q&A, in the comments afterwards, in emailed follow-ups.

This manager asked: “David, I really appreciated the program today. How can I get this information in front of my boss’s boss?”

If you’ve ever read a book, attended a seminar, or heard a speaker and desperately wished your supervisors would learn how to do what you just heard, you’re not alone. In fact, the phenomenon is so common that I’ve given it my own name. I call it SASRNT Syndrome.

SASRNT stands for So And So Really Needs This – it’s the reaction you have when you encounter really good information and immediately want to give it to someone else.

“This is awesome – my boss totally needs this!”

There’s just one problem: your boss didn’t receive the information. You did.

Don’t Fail Before You Start

I call SASRNT a syndrome because it can hurt you if you let it. When you rush off to share good leadership information with someone else, you neglect the most important step – to use it.

That other person – your boss, your colleague, your spouse – may need what you want to share, but think about how you would react if the roles were reversed.

Your employee comes to you and says: “Hey team leader, I think you’d be a much better team leader if only you’d read this book or attend that seminar.” How would you react? Honestly?

If you’re like most people, you’d immediately be on the defensive. None of us like being told we’re not good enough. We resist whenever we feel we’re being sold – even if it is something that would help us.

It’s Tough Out There

I get it. There are tons of poor business leaders out there. The statistics are hard to argue and I see it all the time.

The manager who had asked me about sharing the information with her boss’s boss had a very tough work environment with a notorious reputation that extends beyond the walls of her company.

You may be in a similar environment. I know you want to change it – and I’m glad you do, but here’s the thing:

  • You can’t change them.
  • You can’t change the company.
  • You can only change you.

Be The Leader You Want Your Boss To Be

This has been my leadership mantra for many years. The only way we change the world is for you to lead well. The one and most powerful thing you can do is to apply what you’ve learned and create a pocket of influence and excellence around you.

When your managers treat you poorly, treat your people well. Where your managers tolerate mediocrity, act with and expect excellence. Where they act like victims, empower yourself and your team.

Have compassion for them and for your people. They may not know what you know, but they’re doing what they can. In time, they may even ask you for help. Lead first, where you are, with what you have. Then invite others to join you on the journey.

Remember, the most effective leaders don’t try to push ideas on people. They take what they’ve learned; they use it, and then invite others to join them.

How do you maintain your positive leadership when the culture doesn’t support it? Leave a comment and share…

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Articles By david-dye
I work with leaders who want to build teams that care and get more done with fewer headaches.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Page Cole  |  19 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Great post David! “Be the leader you want your boss to be”… not “be the BOSS you want your boss to be”! Great insight!! All of us who have a boss want him to be a LEADER! Too many times they settle for the lazy option, which is to just be the boss!

I love the hopeful encouragement… “you can change YOU!”

I’m working on that every day!

Thanks again!

David Dye  |  20 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Great observations Page – thank you!

John Smith  |  24 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Hi, David – excellent post:)

I found my heading nodding in agreement with your opening story. This is indeed a common comment in organizations today. I once worked for a person who decreed that her senior staff was exempt from any mandatory training or development activities our department provided, because “Senior staff should already know this stuff.”:)

Your emphasis on taking responsibility for managing up is something I wish I had taken more seriously in the past when I ran into this attitude. What you inferred without saying is that a person who wants their boss to be exposed to the ideas they have received, may be more likely to not try to change, because they have a ready excuse of something along these lines – “Well, yeah, we all learned how to do it better, but the boss didn’t and he’s still the boss, so …”

Appreciate your engaging writing style and strong ideas:)


David Dye  |  31 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Hi John,

Thank you – I’ve seen that ‘exemption decree’ in more than one company, and it’s almost always a guarantee that they really do need the help (otherwise their staff wouldn’t be struggling the way they are.)

Thanks for the contributions!


clippingpaths  |  01 Apr 2015  |  Reply

It’s hard to come by educated people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re
talking about! Thanks

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