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 I returned from a visit to Cuba, where I connected with leaders who face significant challenges on a daily basis. But what impressed me was their tenacity; their refusal to look for the easy “out”; their commitment to avoid leadership shortcuts.
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?