I must admit I have a good number of pet peeves in leadership. If I had to name my top leadership pet peeve – it would have to be the one I share with you here.
Like many of my leadership principles, this one starts with a personal story.
Early in my career, I led a small sales division for a company. My boss told me who to place on my team, how to conduct sales meetings (even writing out my meeting agenda), and what each person’s assignment would be on the team. Understand, he lived in another state, so he wasn’t at the meetings. In fact, he didn’t know the people on my team.
I was held accountable for results in sales, yet he gave me a script for how to do my job.
It only lasted a season (I eventually quit), but it was one of the most hated seasons of my career. In fairness, I was young and probably not trusted, but I felt so controlled. My team was frustrated. My team and I had ideas we couldn’t even incorporate. And, when I could, I secretly altered things and scripted my own way.
Even as a young leader, I thought he was practicing poor leadership.
The pet peeve that developed from this experience:
If you aren’t doing the work, don’t script how the work is done.
As a leader, cast vision of what you want accomplished.
- Fuel creativity by giving people reasonable boundaries.
- Share thoughts and ideas.
- Monitor activity.
- Check-in to see how you can help.
- Set accountability for progress.
But let people doing the work:
- Those working the plans
- Getting their hands dirty
- Being held responsible
Determine how the work gets completed.
That’s my number one leadership pet peeve.