The leadership dynamic was out of balance.
When someone omitted data on a report, the Director fixed it. When junior leaders failed to meet their responsibilities, he handled them. When staff people came to him with questions, he answered them.
Junior leaders felt they had titles in name only because both employees and the Director bypassed them. Understandably, they also felt ineffective, disrespected, and unnecessary.
Several years of this dynamic created a loss in leadership, accountability, respect, and motivation.
There is a lot to unpack in this short scenario.
• When junior leaders are not leading, it is because they are not being led.
• We can’t hold people accountable if we do their work for them.
• Allowing employees to bypass their leader creates a culture of disrespect for all levels of management.
• Growth occurs when people learn from their mistakes, try again, excel, enjoy the feeling of a job well done, then start the process again. This can ignite motivation.
To get leadership back in balance, top leaders must:
• Resist the urge to fix. Instead, spend hands-on time with direct reports to be sure they understand how to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.
• Support junior leaders by referring staff questions and issues back to the appropriate leader.
• Allow junior leaders to solve problems and even make mistakes.
• Be willing and available to coach, advise, and teach.
Working oneself to exhaustion because direct reports aren’t doing their job is a downward spiral. No one wins. Effectively leading people is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself, your staff, and the organization. Life must have balance; so must work.
Teri Haynes | Business Interactions, LLC | Improving human interactions in business