Lance Armstrong and the Dark Side of Leadership – Part 2 of 2

Part 1 talked about the law of the lid, the law of influence, and the law of the inner circle.

Part 2 gives another set of 3 Laws of Leadership gone dark.

The Law of the Picture – People Do What People See

If the leader of the pack is doing it, might as well do it ourselves. Armstrong said it himself, “I was the top rider. I was the leader of the team…and the leader of any team leads by example. There was never a direct order or a directive to say you have to do this if you want to do the tour, if you want to be on the team. That never happened. It was a competitive time. We were all grown men. We all made our choices, but there were people on the team that chose not to.

Whether there was an order or not doesn’t matter, the fact that the leader is cheating simply opens the window for everyone else to do it. There’s also pressure on the teammates to perform at the same level as the leader, as such, they better dope to be on the same playing field.

The Law of Victory – Leaders Find a Way for The Team To Win

Based on Armstrong’s responses and nonverbal cues, I can say that it was never about the team and always about Lance’s vision to win big. Lance Armstrong’s motto was “win at all costs”. To him cheating was just a normal part of the job because “everyone else was doing it”.

The Law of Sacrifice – A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up

I’ll touch on the ones I think people notice the most:

  • Moral Values
    • There’s no question that Lance couldn’t care less about the people he was surrounding himself with.  All he cared about was winning. Bullying, controlling stories, ordering people around, public humiliation, you name it…total disregard for other human beings.
    • Cheating because “everyone else was doing it“, no fear of getting caught, and equating doping to pumping air to tires.
  • Money
    • Armstrong quotes “…that was a $75 million dollars day.” I guess to him that wasn’t enough money to prevent him from cheating. Who knows how much more he lost in royalties.
  • Brand Name
    • Lance had a huge following and was a role model for millions of cancer survivors and patients around the world. Where do this people go to now that their trust has been broken?
    • What about LiveStrong? While the company cut ties with Armstrong, it may be difficult to break the mental link of cheater and cancer foundation.
  • Friendships and Relationships
    • Lance destroyed many friendships during his “justification” vendetta.  He now stands alone in this recovery stage of life.
    • While it is true that many can forgive, words that cause pain are never forgotten.

Whether we want to agree with the Lance’s intentions or judge them as right or wrong, we have to accept the Leadership Laws still applied and worked. The only difference between good and evil results is the character of the leader.

This is a long fall for Lance Armstrong as a human being, let us hope we learn something from his failures.

What’s your take on these issues?

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