by Michael Holland    

As a leader, how will you know if you are losing your influence?  How will you know if you’ve “jumped the  shark”?  From the Urban Dictionary, the phrase “jumped the shark” is defined as: “the moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity.”  The idiom’s source is from an  episode of a TV show Happy Days that went way too far in trying to keep its audience.

So, how do you know if you, as a leader, have jumped the shark?  How would you know you are approaching the point at which you will jump the shark?

Here are 9 signs that you’ve jumped the shark and are losing your influence as a leader . . .

  1. You’re a Mundane Award Giver — You are handing out the 58th Employee of the Month Award, or maybe it’s the 78th, either way you are just walking through the motions giving out the same plaque as you have each month repeating the same corny joke and the same uninspiring speech.
  2. You’re Uncaring and Disengaged — You don’t notice that your employees are simply copying their annual goals from previous appraisals.  You then realize they’ve been doing this for 5 years. . . and you decide not to do anything about it.
  3. You’ve Lost Respect — Employees consistently arrive late to your weekly staff meeting or simply don’t bother to come.
  4. You Love Terminations — You are way too comfortable handling employee terminations or worse, you look forward to the event.
  5. You’re a Coward With Compensation — You are overly supportive of the across-the-board raises because you really don’t want to have those compensation discussions and are happy to blame the company.
  6. You Lack Curiosity of Leadership — The last business book you read was Good to Great . . . in 2001 when it was released.
  7. You’re Now That Guy — Your motivational corporate-speak is becoming punch lines at off-site employee gatherings and internet memes .
  8. Your 15 Minutes of Infamy — Your employees have set up and consistently update a # on Twitter in your name
  9. You’re Out-of-Touch — You don’t know what a “#” or internet meme are or mean, or how to find out.

Jumping the shark may seem like a silly reference point but we do know when something or someone has reached the point on decline.  Leaders who lead well don’t allow themselves to decline.  They invest the energy and resources to maintain their engagement with leading and leading their employees / teams / departments / companies.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and You’re Peers

  • Which bullet in the list resonates the closest to how you feel today.
  • Search Twitter for your name and reflect on what you find or don’t find.
  • Make a list of the 5 leadership successes and stumbles you’ve had in the last month.  Grab a peer to talk through the lists.