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Monday, October 13, 2014


I was a hurdler, as a high school athlete.  (Not a great one, mind you; just average). The thing about hurdles is that they introduce an interesting dynamic to a foot race.  Hurdles present barriers that impede your progress, they "get in the way," they distract you from the business of running, they force you to be thinking about how to engage them just as much as you think about getting to the finish line.  And, they can cause you to crash and burn.  

In thinking about work in organizations, I've seen a lot of bosses (i.e., leaders) who seem to be "hurdles" for the team members.  

Here are some of the ways they do that:
  • They impede progress (often by making a mess of relationships).
  • They get in the way (usually by requiring meaningless compliance kinds of work).
  • They distract team members (by regularly calling insubstantial meetings and demanding inconsequential activities).
  • They impose themselves on the processes, procedures, systems, and meetings (as if the work is about them, instead of being about the organization's objectives).

  • I've been thinking about how I can better avoid being a "hurdle" to the teams I work with.  It's rather difficult to "let go" and get out of the way of the team.

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