Stretched not Crushed
Every time things start going wrong we look to the leader for solutions. Beware! The pressure to provide solutions crushes leaders. When solutions come from the top, organizations crumble from the bottom.
A C-level leader recently said, “When I wake up stressed out over problems in the night, I know I’ve forgotten it’s about the team. Things go better when I include others.”
Leaders who can’t ask people to do hard things can’t get hard things done. Meaningful contributions require deep commitment and effort. Weak leaders assume others can’t or won’t step up. They rule out before they ask.
- That’s too hard for them. Making it easy prevents people from stepping up. Give people the opportunity to do hard things. I’m not suggesting you intentionally make things hard for others.
- They already contribute so much. Translation, they can’t make meaningful contribution in new areas.
- They wouldn’t be interested.
- They’re too valuable where they are. If anyone says that to you, update your resume’.
The big ask:
The big ask is about values before programs. Programs, methods, and techniques are small things when compared with the power of shared values. Align shared values before making the big ask.
It’s the team:
Carrying the load alone crushes;
carrying the load together stretches.
Shared values are magnetic; they pull people together. Success is always about people before it’s about programs and initiatives. People committed to shared values make deep commitments to each other. Connections sustain and energize when things get hard. Blame separates and defeats.
How do you ask others to do hard things?
What should be in place before you ask for deep commitments?
Yes! I am often surprised when I bring big opportunities to my stretched team and give them an option to go for it or pass (because I know they are stretched)… they say “game on!” Best to offer…
Thank you Karin.
Yes! Give people a chance.
Hi Dan, if a leader is really a manager trying to play the role of a leader, we should not be surprised when they do not behave as leaders. Leaders do what it is you say they should do, but managers may or may not and more likely it is not.
Thanks Dan; I have found that asking folks to stretch with tough assignments builds their capacity in ways nothing else can – so true – and I need to constantly remember it not only for myself but in working with my coaching clients.as well.
dont get me started on point #4. I was livid when my organization said that to me. I did exactly what you say. Updated my resume. I booked all my holiday time while I went to interviews for new jobs. then Gave my notice that I would not be coming back! I had a better job, where I was valuable where I wanted to be within a couple days of doing that.
Excellent points. I think the same argument could be made regarding big government. They don’t think we the people can be trusted to take on life with all it’s challenges and risks.
“Weak leaders assume others can’t or won’t step up. They rule out before they ask.”
I’ve personally witnessed many instances where weak leaders believe they are the best and won’t delgate or feel they can’t “trust” others to do things they’ve done. Either by pride or ego this failure to TRUST is debilliating to others, chokes growth and deconstructs teams.
It’s called delegating authority and participative management. Finally, education is getting the word on that. Principals are actually asking teachers for their input on decisions.
Great post Dan. As leaders we also need to be cognizant of “success breeds contentment.” The vision must be such that there is always a healthy “discontent” that stretches the team to want to do more.