I know a lot of managers that are extremely busy. Their calendars are full of meetings and to everyone else it looks like they are flat out all the time.
Busyness is truly visible. The busy people are career people and it’s clear they make sure everyone knows how busy they are.
When I look at their achievements and when I try to find concrete things they’ve finished it becomes difficult. They rarely get stuff done and their days are filled with coordination and management work whatever that is.
That’s leadership blindness or fake leadership ..
You think you are leading, since you’re always busy and you’re in every meeting making decisions – but do you really make decisions? Do the people who work for you think that the things you do are important? Have you ever asked?
Do you have connection to the people you lead or are you just running in meetings with other managers? What happens after you’ve done all the important decisions?
Some leaders think they need to be everywhere to coordinate and push things, but often they are just hindering things. Usually “fake leaders” are there when something interesting might happen, something that could boost their career. They rarely get involved, if there is something mandatory, but not so interesting stuff happening.
When you as a leader get involved, make sure people don’t start waiting for your actions. Make sure you really contribute and give value. Like any other team member, you need to contribute and bring value to your team, even if you are the leader, boss or manager. Your value must be high!
I will give you two examples.
Example one of a Leader hindering things
1. Someone has an idea. He is ready to implement it and has already got few people with him on it.
2. The manager gets involved. He takes the lead in the project and takes the idea under his arm. Instead of supporting, helping and empowering people, he shows how he owns the idea and takes the decision-making in his own hands. If you do that, make sure you really make the decisions!
3. The team starts to wait for decisions and directions and becomes disconnected. Specially because the manager is not involved in the daily work. He just setups checkup meetings, if even that
Since the boss is involved, the team isn’t pushing to get decisions and directions, because it’s extra effort and it’s not their project anyway..
..and there you go, the leader has become the biggest bottleneck of the project. You can claim it’s only mental or your team has poor morale, but that’s how leadership can affect organizational performance. If someone is appointed to be a leader and he even does some actions to take the leadership, but doesn’t finish the actions. It has huge negative impact on teams.
Example two of Leader hindering things
Some teams have relatively simple tasks to do. They may have already started them and they are going forward with it together. The manager somehow gets involved and arranges a meeting two weeks ahead to discuss what needs to be done. The team already on a task stops working with it, because they start waiting the meeting.
You can ask why did they stop working?
That’s what happens, if the people are not powered enough. If they are not motivated to drive things. Instead of booking a meeting, the leader could’ve organized short discussion with the team already involved with the matter. He’d ask their plans, next steps and show that he supports what they do. If there is anything he could help with, he should help – but only with concrete actions.
What is true leadership?
Leadership is not involvement and management of all things. It’s about empowering and taking away the physical and mental barriers that exist.
It’s not about you in the beginning, it’s about you at the end, when your units and teams have done an incredible job and conquered new things. Then you can be proud, but only IF you have been in connection with your people. If you have enabled and powered them.
What’s your experience? Have you seen leadership blindness or fake leadership?
Photo Credit Flickr and Dominic Alves