There is so much written about leadership, I thought it would be good to talk about not leading. There are times when we should fight the urge to intervene. It is those moments when doing nothing is more powerful and often more effective than doing something. But first, we need to think about what leadership is and isn’t:
Goal setting and getting
Leadership is not:
Setting out wishy-washy mission statements
Doing it all yourself
Getting the job done (task oriented)
When should you not lead?
Here are my tips on why you should not lead.
When you want to help
A lot of busy managers tell me that their job is to help their team members with any difficulties that they may have. Whilst this is a nice way to go about your business, I want to correct this.
By rushing in to help, you may be stopping your team member from learning to overcome their challenges themselves. We call this empowerment. By rushing in, we prevent our team from taking control of their learning and achievements.
When is it not your job
Leaders tend to be big characters who can cast a long shadow across their organisations. It is easy to “get involved” in all aspects of the business. This may not be the smartest move. Firstly, leaders need to concern themselves with what is important and resist the temptation of “getting involved” in every aspect of the work. You have a team, a wise leader uses the talent around them to ensure the work gets done to the quality required.
When you are angry or upset
This is the time when decisions should not be made about anything. You are not in the right frame of mind to be rational about anything when you are upset. This is the time to withdraw and take time out to calm down and reflect. This is not the time for wholesale sackings, for example. When you have calmed down and reflected, that is the time to make decisions.
So, next time you have a problem, think about doing nothing as an effective option.
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