Have you ever been tempted to take a leadership shortcut?
Sure you have. Every leader faces the temptation at some point to avoid the sometimes hard, grueling, long road that leadership often requires.
This week as I was looking at some year-end results from the Global Leadership Summit, it struck me that our partners around the world share the vital leadership trait of being “shortcut-avoiders”. They know and understand that leadership results are often achieved only after enduring extensive, effort over the long haul.
To achieve their results they have learned to identify common leadership “shortcuts” and have resolved not to succumb to their temptation.
Here are three of the most common, and deadly, leadership shortcuts to avoid…
1. Creating policies
Moving people or organizations forward requires the hard work of leadership. It requires vision casting, team building, and difficult conversations.
But instead of doing this hard work, some leaders will opt instead to simply churn out a few policies.
Policies might have their place. Just don’t confuse them with leadership.
2. Losing your cool
When a leader loses their cool, it’s like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Both are frustrated that they’re not getting their way. And so they pitch a fit.
If people give in to this, it can create the illusion that there has been a leadership accomplishment. But ‘powering up’ isn’t the same as leadership. It’s more like bullying.
And it’s just another shortcut.
3. Creating a new org chart
…or reorganizing anything.
A leader paralyzed with indecision will sometimes whip out a piece of paper or run to a white board and start drawing boxes, circles and lines with abandon.
In time a brand new exciting organization chart can emerge, and the resulting change in reporting structures can provide yet another illusion that real leadership has taken place.
But, once again, it hasn’t. It’s just another shortcut.
Face it. Sometimes leadership is just hard. Moving a group of people forward requires tremendous effort and tenacity.
And in the midst of it all it can be very tempting to simply take one of these shortcuts.
But resist these easy ‘outs’. Stick to the hard work of leadership.
The results will be worth it.
What other leadership shortcuts have you seen?
Updated from April 16, 2015 post