Developing Leadership – Minding the Mediocrity Gap

High Authority and Low Influence = Mediocrity Gap
The difference between high authority and low influence creates what we call the “Mediocrity Gap.”   Followers disconnect from their leader when they feel obligated rather than motivated to do something.

Duty vs Responsibility
The obligation comes from performing out of a sense of duty to an authority.  The motivation comes from performing out of a sense of responsibility to a leader.

When acting out of a sense of duty, a team member may begrudgingly perform a task.  When acting out of a sense of responsibility, a team member is more likely to give more effort towards a task.

High Influence > High Authority
Regardless of rank, a person with influence can lead a group successfully.  In order to close the Mediocrity Gap, it is important to increase one’s influence.  This will help prevent the apathy that results in mediocre work.

The influence a person has is highly dependent on the following three questions:

  1. Does the leader know what they are doing?
  2. Can I trust him/her?
  3. Does he/she care about me?

The first question relates to someone’s ability to do their job. A person most likely will not follow someone that they do not believe knows what they are doing.

The second question relates to someone’s impression of the leader’s character. A person will hesitate on committing to someone they do not believe they can trust.

The third question relates to the relationship between the person and the leader. A person will not fully get behind a person that they do not believes has their interests at heart.

It is critical to get a “yes” answer to each of the above listed questions. To unlock this potential, study how you can increase your influence and be aware of actions that may violate the three tenets listed above.