Friday, May 15, 2009

Strangling Leadership

It's become apparent to me that my leadership can have the opposite of the desired effect. It can strangle verses bring freedom. I know something needs to change, but at this point, I'm not sure what.

I have high expectations of people and I see choices in a larger context. Some examples:
  • If someone doesn't get something done because something came up, it will be important for me to know why/how they put themselves in a position where something coming up could derail them.
  • If someone has historically done untidy work, I'm fine to have him or her go do it, but I will want to make sure I'm in the review process.
  • If someone has traditionally been more passive in handling situations, but this time a more proactive approach is needed, I will be frustrated if the person doesn't move as soon as they get more information. Let's say you get an email that unblocks you and enables you to move forward. It's totally understandable that you may not be able to deal with it that night and forget to mention it the next. With a passive context though, I would be concerned that the same pattern of not proactively taking care of things is occurring. I would at least like to be told, "An email came in, but I'm not going to be able to talk about it tonight. Let's talk tomorrow." At that point, I'm aware that the person is mindful of the situation, and I can then be at peace.
I think my intentions are good, but they don't empower people. Instead of enabling someone to reach new heights, I make him or her feel suffocated.

Is this a control issue? Am I trying to ensure that things are done to my standard or my way? How do you be concerned about quality and be encouraging rather than detrimental? Do you have any suggestions?

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