How Is Your Vision? Why Victims Can’t Be Leaders


Victim is my new word to describe the opposite of leader. No one likes being a victim, but I catch myself blaming others for my circumstances and my position and at that moment I become a victim. When I remember I can always chose my attitude and my reaction, I become a leader, at least of my self.
From Mike Henry, The Opposite of Leader. Read the article here.

Why can’t victims lead?
It has nothing to do with a person being abused, misused, rejected, or harmed. In fact, people that come out of adversity often have the determination, experience, and understanding to help people that otherwise could not be helped or led into a better life.

Here are some big reasons that people who REMAIN victims can’t lead:

A victim mentality will tell you that things will never change. You can’t lead without HOPE.
Victimization usually occurs in cycles, especially within families. You can lead until you get on a PATH to a better place.
Victims have their own self-worth eroded. You can’t lead without SELF-RESPECT.
Being a victim causes distrust of people. You can’t lead without TRUST in others.
Ultimately victimization results in acts of destruction toward self or others, particularly destruction of relationships and opportunities. You can’t lead without GOODWILL and LOVE.

How else does a victim mentality keep people from being a leader in their homes or organizations?

Next time: Coming out of a victim mentality!

This is part of a series on overcoming a victim mentality and moving forward in life and leadership. Read the first post in this series here.

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4 thoughts on “How Is Your Vision? Why Victims Can’t Be Leaders”

  1. Glenn, thanks for the link to my post. I appreciate your additional comments. My goal was to simply point out that if you adopt a victim mentality, you’ve almost disqualified yourself as a leader, which is very much what you added above. Thanks again. Mike…

    1. Mike, thanks so much for the comment. I think I understand the context you were coming from, but what makes your point so fascinating to me is that I have spent my professional career working with victims of all kinds of trauma, and people like that can truly move forward and lead others well, even exceptionally well, when they recover from that trauma. I had not drawn the connection between being a victim and one’s ability to lead until I spotted your article, and so the series I’m working on was launched! Thanks for your insight and I hope you keep reading my posts!

      1. I’ll do my best to keep reading. Please don’t be shy about reminding me on Twitter either.

        People who have truly been victimized would probably make great leaders, as you said after they work through the trauma of their experience. I don’t have much experience with that side of things.

        Leadership is an “other-focused” practice and, in my mind, I was equating a victim mindset with a self-focus or abuser-focus, neither of which are conducive to great leadership.

      2. That is the trap of victimization, becoming too self- and trauma- focused. Whether it manifests as being too scared to leave the house, not trusting a spouse to do tasks, smothering children emotionally due to fear for their safety. All of these are self- focus externalized on others, and it’s for the victim’s coping or sense of security, not for the well-being of the other person or group.

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