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Friday, September 30, 2016


I'm guilty, but I finally learned better (a bit slower than I want to admit).  I've seen many other leaders commit the same error.

Here's the all too familiar downward progression:

  1. The leader insists that things get done "my way," which means they want to define the outcomes AND to control the processes of getting to those outcomes. 
  2. The leader gets frustrated when others can't or won't abide by the processes prescribed, either because they don't have the skills, or haven't been given the authority, or actually know a better way to achieve the outcomes. 
  3. The leader gradually takes on more and more of the responsibility for all that doing.
  4. Followers get disenchanted and/or disgruntled, with many talented ones "walking" and the remainder hanging around, but slipping into neutral.
  5. Toxic relationships between leader and follower ensue.
  6. The leader crashes and burns, worn to a frazzle.
  7. The organization and all its members suffer under the weight of bitter dysfunction and lack of performance.
Accomplishing big and worthy things requires many hands, many minds, and many hearts.  The outcomes are what is important.  

A better way.  Be clear about the outcomes.  Be diligent in supporting folks as they make their way to those outcomes.  Avoid undermining, under-resourcing, under-developing, and under-appreciating those who have joined in the endeavor.

To do otherwise is to find ourselves shackled to certain and painful demise.

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