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Discover the Power of Good Leadership to Guarantee Consistent and Successful Results

April 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 147

Leadership is based on getting work done through other people. Therefore, the type of leader you are, the leadership style you adhere to, determines the level of productivity you get and the return you get on your people investment.

Masochism, Megalomania or Mastery?

Some of us seem to have a gift for getting our lives into one hell of a knot. I am, of course, speaking of our professional life. These persons insist on having all matters pass through their hands before any action can be taken. I suppose the feeling that other persons cannot act unless you say so gives some of us a tremendous sense of power.

When questioned as to why they insist on getting involved in every action, such individuals will say they have a hard time finding competent people, after whom they won't have to redo the job or manage a crisis. What they are really saying is that they don't think anyone is as competent as they are. These people see themselves as perfectionists and are ready to point the finger at everyone else for incompetence.

Speaking of pointing accusatory fingers, a colleague of mine noted an interesting point in one of our in-house workshops: "When you point one finger at someone, three of your own fingers point back at you." I think this applies to us all, including the author of this column. When you use your mind and senses to analyze and evaluate external situations, is the mind a mirror or a microscope? What is the validity of that intellectual exercise? I don't intend to digress into philosophical issues of validity and evaluation at this time, but it is worth keeping this point in mind as we explore the meaning of the title of this article.

The answer to the question raised in the title is dependent on the scenario that follows:

Mr. Teddy Tycoon is the head of Conglomerate Y, a very successful company that manufactures blue 'dingle-dangles'. Ms. Fabiola Hyperbole is the head of Consortium X, a hi-tech company that produces 'brain-amplifiers'. Both these individuals have the same perfectionist style of leadership. Both of them think big, strategise and have ideas far ahead of their times. Small problem though, the people who work for them haven't got a clue as to what is going on in those complex minds of their bosses. If employees do something right, they get left alone; but, if they do something wrong, "all hell breaks loose." So word got around through the company grapevine: "Make sure you have the blessing of the boss before you move your a- -. Otherwise, it may get kicked really hard."

Every morning there is a queue of employees waiting to see their bosses on 'urgent' business. There is also a long line of outside visitors and customers waiting to see these bosses on 'important' business, and there is a never ending stream of 'life-or-death' telephone calls to finalize mega-deals with world-class VIP's. All these weighty matters have to be routed through the super-brains of these mighty bosses. If only, the day could be stretched beyond 24 hours, and if only each of those bosses could have a couple of spare heads so they could change heads like you change punctured tires, or if they could figure out a way to clone themselves, so they could have colonies of 'smarts' like themselves.

These bosses are paying their employees to mark time and wait; to have two out of eight hours of productivity per working-day and to blame every shortcoming or delay and difficulty on the bosses' busy schedule. These bosses are themselves the bottleneck that slows down productivity and gives employees a pretext to escape accountability. No man or woman can lead a company that can grow beyond the limits of a 'one-person-show' unless they learn the subtle arts of honest self-evaluation and judicious delegation.

The mirror - The mirror reflects what is in front of it. When we stand before the eyes of other people, each of them reflects a part of the puzzle that makes up our complex and constantly evolving and unfolding personalities. It is all too easy to be dismissive or defensive in the face of criticism, particularly when it touches us personally. If we are as smart as we would like to think, we will switch from the mirror to the microscope mode and try to understand what elements of truth there are in each image reflected to us by others. We will also go further and learn from it. Trust ourselves enough to admit our humanity, the very source of genuine strength. The paradox being that recognition of our weakness is the ultimate source of our strength.

The second thing is to know what to delegate, how far to delegate and to whom to delegate. I have found Odette Pollar's suggestions in her book Successful Meetings to be very useful. She identifies six levels of delegation, each linked to a particular employee profile:

The art of self-evaluation is the art of remembering that there is no one behind Level A: This is for employees you can tell, "Decide what to do and do it. And you don't have to check with me again." Caution: Make sure you have warning signals in place that will let you know if things go wrong.

  • Level B: Give these employees the same latitude as those at Level A, but require that they do check with you again. Reason: You'll be able to react faster if things have gone awry.
  • Level C: Employees at this level are capable of deciding what to do. Tell them to decide, let you know their decision and then go ahead unless they hear from you to the contrary.
  • Level D: These employees are almost the same as those at Level C. The difference: They can't go ahead unless they check with you first.
  • Level E: Tell these employees, "Decide what to do, but tell me your options and the pros and cons of each." This allows you to review how employees think and gives you a chance to help those at this level develop their problem-solving skills.
  • Level F: Use this level for employees with little decision-making experience. Let them investigate and give you the facts, but tell them you'll make the decision.

If you get to know which employees belong to which level, then you will be able to reduce the length of the queues at your door. You will have an empowered workforce who will enjoy working for someone who expects them to do well and be responsible for delivering results and growing the organization.

Finally, you will have more time to do what you should to guarantee the continuity of your organization: keeping abreast of developments, planning and leading. Moreover, successful leaders engender other leaders who retain their individuality and develop unique strengths, in areas that complement rather than duplicate those possessed by others.

Where to draw the line between masochism, megalomania and mastery? Judge for yourself.

Fay Niewiadomski founded ICTN (International Consulting & Training Network) in 1993. ICTN provides complete management services to its clients who are among the leading regional and multinational players. Furthermore, she has worked with CEOs, Board Members, Presidents and Ministers of Government and other Leaders to help them meet the challenges of change within their organizations through creative problem solving, management interventions and powerful communication strategies. Prior to founding ICTN, she researched the subject of "Managing Change through Needs-Based Assessment' in large Lebanese Organizations" for her doctoral work at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Additionally, she also held various university positions as a professor at AUB and LAU and as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at NDU.

For additional information on how to improve performance and increase productivity through people, decrease cost and better ensure growth and sustainability, visit

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Source: EzineArticles
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