9: The Law of Magnetism
Good leaders are supported by good people; and to reverse that, people are attracted to leaders because they admire the leader - the leader reflects the qualities they have, or wish to develop, in themselves.
The author invites the reader to consider what makes a "perfect" employee in terms of characteristics, then to match this assessment against their own subordinates. You will likely find that your level of satisfaction with an employee is closely related to the degree to which they match those characteristics.
(EN: Likely, but this is also a psychological trick. If you have a good overall impression of a person or a brand, you will rate it more highly against positive qualities. Not to say this exercise will be entirely un-enlightening, but it's a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy.)
Then, dissect yourself: honestly and objectively weighing yourself against each of the qualities you expect of others. What you will likely find, if you are honest in your self-assessment - is that the people who follow you are more like yourself than they are like the ideal employee you have described.
The point is: what you get in the way of followers is not determined by what you want, but buy who you are.
It's also mentioned that a leader who is not happy with the followers who surround them would be well advised to check himself: if everyone who surrounds you is negative and surly, it's a reflection of your own attitude.
It's important to recognize this: a weak leader will blame the HR department, the local talent pool, or other reasons that he may find himself surrounded by people he doesn't like: but ultimately, it's the leader, himself, who attracts or gathers such people.
The Importance of Diversity
Leaders tend to attract followers who are similar to themselves, but there is a drawback to this: a leader who depends on magnetism to attract like-minded people will end up with a team who are all similar, and group-think sets in when people have identical perspectives. They tend to notice the same things - but on the other hand, they tend to overlook the same things.
As such, it's critical for a leader to recognize that there is a need for different perspectives, and he will have to be conscientious about staffing his team with people whose strengths and perspectives fill the gaps in his team. Moreover, because these people are different, they will not be naturally attracted to him - he will have to work hard to go out and find them.
Where Do They Match Up?
A leader may feel he has achieved diversity, as his people are not all perfect clones of himself - but he will generally find that they have more similarities than differences, especially in a few key areas:
- Attitude. It is rare to find optimists and pessimists in the same flock. They tend to find one another annoying and, at times, insufferable.
- Generation. People tend to attract others of roughly the same age as themselves, and shun both older and younger.
- Social Class. Regardless of the wealth they achieve, people are born into a given social class and rarely associate with those who are of a higher or lower one.
- Religion. People who share the same religious beliefs have the same values and the same ideas about character, and tend to gang together.
- Experience. People who have done the same kinds of things or who have been in similar situations have the ability to identify with one another through their common experiences.
- Ability. People who are capable have a distinctly different set of values from those who have not achieved success, and the two do not relate well to one another.
For a leader who has matriculated from front-line leadership to a position where he commands other leaders, the quality of leaders he attracts is improved if he is himself a better leader.