How Leaders Frustrate Others

Last week, I frustrated someone, again. I thought I learned my lesson but old habits die hard.

There’s always room for improvement, from my point of view. Nothing’s ever done. I’m tempted to add to or modify projects while in progress. It feels great to me. I’m adding value.

Modifying project outcomes, after jobs begin, doesn’t excite people like it excites me. “Could we?” and, “What about?” are great before projects or tasks begin; frustrating after.

Completion is more important than minor improvement.

Don’t modify current tasks, finish them. Modifications confuse and hinder. People start wondering what they’re doing and what you want. They say, “I thought we were…?”

Checking tasks off is better than stopping to tweak them.


Improve processes, don’t change deliverables. Suggestions that simplify tasks and speed completion are welcomed. Improve oars in the middle of the stream, don’t modify destinations.


Complete tasks. Arrive before changing direction. Completing tasks is more important than tweaking outcomes. Minor corrections do more damage than good.


Know the difference between minor corrections and necessary course adjustment. Jump in quickly to avoid unforeseen rocks or storms, otherwise, hold the course.

Avoid costly mistakes; allow minor imperfections.

Save the day; forget minor adjustments. It’s ticklish to know when to step in. Err on the side of trusting good people.


This post concerns day-to-day projects and tasks, not strategic goals.

How can leaders add value when projects are in process?

How do you decide to step in or stay out?