Monday, September 24, 2012

Brute Force Leadership

How do you feel about this statement?

"The only way I can ensure things get done the right way is if I attend the meeting."

Have you ever used this line? Have you already used this line today? There is much more going on when you say and do this than what you might think.

Superiority Complex
I (too often) get caught up in my own stuff. Whether it's an idea, strategy, meeting commitment or other area of the work I'm responsible for, I fall into the trap of convincing myself that I have to be involved in everything. With my presence and fingerprint on everything, I'm able to exert some good old fashioned brute force to get the job done just the way I see it. Usually we end up with a less than good outcome when that happens.

The better option (just about every time) is for me to get my team involved in whatever it is that is going on. I have a group of smart people that work here in HR...and you have smart people that work with you too. Letting them do their jobs without constant interruptions from us has a couple of huge benefits. One of the most obvious is that we don't have to do all of the work! Why? Because we're not supposed to.

No Trust, No Team
The more important issue here though is trust. Ask yourself what message you send when your team members are constantly being interrupted in their work? Do you honestly think they feel good about your ( and my) interference? I'm guessing they would prefer to give it their best shot (which usually IS the best course of action) and then touch base with us afterwards.

How About You
What message are you going to send this week? Is it going to be another day of you complaining that you're so busy, not because you're doing your own work, but because you're involved in everyone's work? How does any professional development or succession planning stand a chance?

Or, is this the week that your team has an opportunity to spread their wings and show what they can do? Who knows, you actually might find a little extra time in your own schedule.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit


  1. Jay - great blog post. I deal with this everyday with many managers. I still believe this comes down to trust. You don't need to be involved at the micro level if you have hired good people, set proper goals/parameters and performance expectations...and coach them. Brute force leadership is the fast track to turnover in a professional environment. Of course, this is also the difference between management and leadership.

    1. Thanks Scott. I agree...we see this far too often in management ranks across our organizations (and HR too sometimes!).

      Big jump between managing and leading!