The letter “C” for leaders – Constraint

This is the third installment in the Alphabet for Leaders. Today it’s the letter “C.”

You constrain your organization.

The Theory of Constraints (TOC) is the idea that any manageable system is limited in achieving more of its goal by a very small number of constraints, and that there is always at least one constraint (Wikipedia).

The painful truth is – leaders constrain the organizations they lead. Maxwell uses the expression, “The Law of the Lid, when He states, “Personal and organizational effectiveness is proportional to the strength of leadership.” Of all the things I’ve learned about leadership this one hurts the most. It indicates that leaders can’t make excuses and can’t blame others. The buck stops on the leader’s desk.

How are you constraining your organization?

Ask yourself, what’s frustrating about your organization? What are your complaints about the people you lead? Make a good long list because in so doing, you’ll describe and define qualities you must develop in yourself.

For example, a disorganized organization reflects a disorganized leader. Ouch! Furthermore, are your managers poor at delegation? Chances are you are a micro-manager yourself. You can’t let go. Or, you can’t trust. Ouch!

You can also apply this personally. Are the people around you too emotional? Chances are you are too emotional.

Addressing constraints

Begin by bringing the outside in. You can bring the outside in by doing a 360 degree evaluation, hiring a coach or consultant, or finding new blood.

Along with bringing the outside in, adopt a personal and professional development plan. Surprisingly, you will address organizational weaknesses by enhancing your own skill-set.

Lastly, if possible, hire to your weaknesses. Sadly, many leaders tend to hire themselves. What I mean is they hire people who share their strengths and have similar personality qualities. Try hiring someone who compliments your weaknesses.


Have I pushed the idea of constraints too far?

What word that begins with “C” can you offer leaders?