Business Sampler: The No. 1 enemy to success
August 12, 2017
For many leaders and would-be leaders, leadership is all about maintaining control — total control of everything. Control in this case becomes the leaders' hidden enemy.
The paradox of leadership is that to grow as a leader you must give up leadership. I know this sounds like some weird, mystic philosophy. It is, however, fundamental that as a leader you realize you have the same 24 hours per day as everyone else.
Going back to Moses' day, the situation he found himself in was trying to manage the challenges of several million people every day, by himself. In an odd turn of events it was his father-in-law who suggested he get some help and outlined a system of delegation for Moses. More surprisingly, Moses took this idea and ran with it. The next week Moses was happy with the new leadership system and more important, so was his family. Moses is not an isolated case. In an interesting book called the "5,000 Year Leap," Cleon Skousen outlines how for most of recorded history, and most likely unrecorded history, leaders have delegated responsibility.
Just how does delegation make you a better leader?
Delegation forces you, as the leader, to really understand the objectives and goals of a particular activity. Most leaders tend to be more fluid when they have direct control over the activity. This leads to confusion among the employees and wasted energy. Determining the function or objective of a department and then clearly defining that with the manager you appoint creates the opportunity for greater success. Why? Because now a single point of contact for you as the leader is managing all the details and resources for a department or a project and has their finger on the pulse of that entity all day every day. You as the leader can now lift your head up from the grindstone and look for that next opportunity.
Delegation forces you, as the leader, to create other leaders. Regardless of how great the general is in any army, they need leaders under them who can think and act in a similar — but not the same — manner. Imagine every front line and support unit in a large battle calling the general for direction — what a nightmare.
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To create these leaders, you need to invest time with each of your future leaders. This is done through one-on-one meetings, reviewing their department's or project's progress or lack thereof. It doesn't mean you solve their challenges for them; it does mean you work with them so they develop a solution. During these one-on-one meetings and weekly team meetings, you can share your vision for the future. Through this sharing you create a more concise view of the future, and your managers, budding leaders, start to internalize and own this vision.
When your team of leaders own the same vision, magic happens. The leadership team can move forward confidently, because they can base their decisions on a shared vision without waiting for direction from you, and they can integrate their actions with other departments to reduce costs and improve overall organizational effectiveness.
At this point, your investment in this leadership team pays huge daily dividends. You have time to explore new opportunities, and you have time to invest in your family or other interests.
— John Benjamin is the owner of the Business Engineering Consortium, helping you re-engineer for great success. Contact him directly with your questions and comments at email@example.com.