April 17, 2012

Is Leadership an Endangered Species?

It may not be the work or the compensation, but something isn't quite right. Co-workers begin to spend time commiserating about their situation while talk of customer solutions and product improvements are replaced with nitpicky items that seem like a big waste of time and energy. Sundays are filled with dread of the impending week and calling in sick becomes an attractive option.

In all of the stakeholder surveys and research I’ve seen over the years, it is clear that no one wants a boss. Nobody takes pleasure in being over managed. And not a soul enjoys when their direct report consistently focuses on mistakes while ignoring the victories. So why is it so common?

Leader v Boss

I was speaking with a colleague last week and he said “the boss” (his words) gave a full company update which demoralized more than rejuvenated. The message was clear – the boss wasn’t happy and needed to point out exactly where others were going wrong. This management style helps no one except the short-sighted manager. The moment anyone in that room gets a better offer, they’re gone.

For a moment, imagine a working environment where good work is lauded, setbacks are solved as a team, finger pointing is eliminated and people actually want to put forth the extra effort. Now add in leadership that encourages ideas and feedback isn’t just reserved for the antiseptic 30-minute annual review. Envision a place where people actually enjoy collaborating as a team.

Read the Room

I’m sure, like me, you have made the mistake of being tough on someone because they didn’t do what you needed them to do. But before you feel the urge to point out the negative, remember how much you dislike that approach.

If you have issues, ask your team member to discuss a solution together. The result may surprise you. Improvements and revenue are important to keep the company in business, but bossing people around is not the way to get it done. My colleague’s parting comment; “I need a new job”. What a shame.

Co-created environments make Sunday more enjoyable.  

Kneale Mann

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