Last week I had someone ask me a question that I found interesting. The question was: "Do you believe someone can turn things around and become a good leader if the team has been broken apart?"

Karlene Explaining the Reality of the Airline Industry...
Joe Kunzler via Compfight

As someone who's written a book on leadership, is working on a second book on leadership, talked about leadership, wrote a newsletter on the leadership for 10 years, and traveled to a few states giving presentations on leadership, I certainly do hope and believe people can become good leaders. However, I have to own up to a few things.

What I've found in almost every presentation I've ever given is the people who show up are people who are already pretty good at leadership. I've done the workshop thing where you give folks tasks to do in small groups to see what they come up with and they've always performed as expected from people who know what they're doing as leaders.

This tells me that those who probably need the lessons the most aren't coming, and it's the crux of the problem with bad leaders. Either they don't know they're bad or don't care that they're bad. When that's the case, it's hard for many people to believe that someone can change, and I can see the point.

Still, I have to believe it can be done, and it will be done... if these 3 things happen:

1. A person acknowledges that the results they're getting aren't what they were hoping for from others.

I often wonder how people in leadership positions don't recognize when things aren't working correctly. Then I go the other route; they do know, but they don't know what to do about it. As Dr. Phil says, acknowledging the behavior is the first step towards fixing it.

2. A person takes steps to address the issue.

You can't continue doing what you're doing and expect changes right? A new action has to occur, but what kind? It's going to have to involve at least one, though probably more than one, of the following:

* talking to the people being affected
* talking to someone who might be able to offer help
* taking positive action steps that signal a change in personal behavior
* changing demeanor, being more professional

3. Being authentic in change.

Others know when behavior is phony. If they can't fully diagnose it they can feel it, and no one likes phonies. Sometimes people make changes, see the results, and start to fully embrace the action of good leadership. Other times, folks have an agenda, will change to get what they want, and then go back to negative behavior. You'll only get away with that once.

Yes, people can become good leaders, and can turn a team into a cohesive unit. But they want to change; otherwise, it won't work.