“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Toilet Paper Leadership

A dear friend of mine from Brunei Darussalam shares an interesting article on leadership titled ‘Toilet Paper Leadership’. Here are snippets …

Leadership books usually discuss about characteristics of good leadership. So, today I'll talk about bad leaders. People in position of leadership usually think of themselves as good leaders. In reality, there are good leaders, just so-so leaders and bad leaders.
Bad leaders subscribe to what I term as toilet paper leadership. The essence of toilet paper leadership is that people should be treated as toilet paper because they are to be used to either make the leader look good or to clean their *##@#.

Toilet paper leaders are typically self-centered. They are opportunists and are mainly concerned with their own interest. They will use terms such as "common goals" and "mission" to disguise their intentions.

They rely on impression management to impress their superiors. But their subordinates usually can see that these leaders are not concerned about the organization.

To toilet paper leaders working smart is about taking advantage of people. When something good is done by their subordinates they will step in front to take the credit. When something bad happens they will put the subordinates on the firing line, especially when the bad things happened as a consequence of the leader's action.

Toilet paper leaders will avoid work under the guise of "delegation". They are too busy in their own political games and pursuing their own personal interest to be bothered with actual work. Their "delegation" is in reality abdication.

Toilet paper leaders are generally insecure about themselves. They are nervous of smart and capable people. Toilet paper leaders will try to avoid exposing their deficiencies by making decisions without consulting with smarter people. These leaders are nervous of having their ideas scrutinized by others. When these leaders call for meetings it is usually held to brief others of the decisions they have made.

Toilet paper leaders, however, cannot tolerate smart followers who speak their own mind and will marginalize them or flush them out of the way.

Toilet paper leaders see information as something to be manipulated for their own purposes. They do this by restricting information flow or altering it to serve their own purposes.

Toilet paper leaders prefer to circle themselves with weak, timid and pliable people. They prefer followers who always tell them what they want to hear. These followers are usually themselves incompetent opportunists. These are the kind of followers that are usually rewarded by toilet paper leaders.

Toilet paper leaders tend to create a climate of distrust and low morale. Good people tend to leave and the bad ones remain. But toilet paper leaders are not concerned with this as long as they are in power and continue to reap personal benefit from their leadership.

It is easy to start looking around to identify who are the toilet paper leaders. Well, let me suggest that we begin by asking ourselves whether we subscribe to this kind of leadership style.

Do we see a lot of toilet paper strewn around us? But then, toilet paper leaders are too self-absorbed and conceited to notice all those toilet paper strewn around them.

I’m glad ‘Pimpinan Berjaya Part 1’ (PB1) is prepared to meet these challenges. Why wait, sign up to attend PB1 asap!