How Positional Leadership stifles Caribbean businesses
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How Positional Leadership stifles the Caribbean’s economic development

18 Sep How Positional Leadership stifles the Caribbean’s economic development

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One way in which colonialism is keeping back our leadership evolution is the focusing on positional leadership.

Positional leadership can be seen as using one’s position to reinforce power and to direct people to do your bidding because you hold a certain title. In a previous blog, I wrote that positional leadership confines our personal development and keeps us at bay with living in our purpose.

Most times when I hear people speak about leadership, it usually comes down to being promoted to a specific job title accompanied by respect and power. However, my career has taught me that the attainment of a leadership position is not the destination it is just the beginning of your leadership journey. To some, it may seem like I am stating the obvious. However, I am not quite sure that we have consciously recognised that our overall view of leadership is flawed.

I was recently reading through the teachings of John C. Maxwell, a foremost world thought leader in leadership. When I read about the effects of positional leadership and the type of employees this type of leadership creates. It paints a stark picture of the ‘lazy’ and ‘lack of productivity’ workforce which our Caribbean leaders love to complain about repeatedly. Maybe they should take ownership in the part they have played in this.


To be honest, I am a bit torn about this one.

I myself have never been a clockwatcher, my first job if you left at 4pm, people would tease and ask if you were going to lunch. So it was understood that there was no 8am – 4pm (9am – 5pm) where I worked. I have more or less carried this with me throughout my career.

While there are persons who will undoubtedly ‘mind the time’ and only work the hours which they are contracted for, I can’t blame them for their approach. I have repeatedly seen how positional leaders who make it very clear to employees that they are just cogs in the wheels and are there to do their bidding. Essentially, their development is irrelevant. So why go the extra mile?

“Just Enough” Employees

We have all worked with one of these and they have guaranteed to frustrate us immensely.

We fume silently or not so silently wondering……………..Why are they doing bare minimum? Why can’t they take lead and use initiative to get a task done instead of just waiting on instructions?

What we need to understand is that these type of employees figured out something early on. The managers they work for don’t care about initiative, leadership, personal development or their opinions. So they do ‘just enough’ to get by and to remain under the radar while letting positional leaders think that they are in agreement with all of their decisions.

The Mentally Absent

These are the persons who sleepwalk into the office and use enough of their brain cells to walk, eat and sound as if they are not zombies.

Positional leadership no longer serves us as a people. It will not help us to thrive and to make the required leaps and bounds which we must to secure the future of the Caribbean. Board of Directors, current C-Suite members, key members of government and civil society must stop placing so much significance on positional leadership.


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