When Leadership Seems Too Costly
Good leadership takes time. Time you don’t have. Higher pressure demands leave no time to invest in helping others be successful. That, by the way, is leadership: Investing in the success of others.
How to Grow Your Organization
Growth isn’t the only goal worth pursuing, but most organizations want to grow so let’s frame our discussion of leadership in that context.
You want to grow, and growth keeps you busy. Being good at your craft is what got you where you are. The more you grow, the more of what you’re good at there is to do. The bigger you get, the busier you get. We’ll assume you’ve successfully shed lower-level tasks so you can focus on your core skill. But eventually you become the bottleneck because your organization can’t grow past your ability to do what you’re good at. What’s the solution?
The best solution would have been for you to start focusing long ago on helping others get good at what you do instead of doing it all yourself. The second-best solution is to start doing that now. Even if it means you have to slow down now so you can go farther later.
How to Get Mediocre Results
But building a successful, growing organization isn’t just about cloning yourself. It’s about hiring the right people and helping them be the best them that they can be. Growth doesn’t come from just highly successful clones, you need highly successful people in every corner of the organization.
If you want mediocre performance, hire the best people and turn them loose without leadership. Even an all-star sports team fails without leadership. People need inspiration, motivation, direction, encouragement, accountability, support, and more if they’re going to reach their full potential. And you won’t reach your full potential if the people around you aren’t reaching theirs. That’s the job of leadership, to provide what people need to reach their full potential.
So you can choose. You can work as hard as you can for as long as you can to achieve as much success as your personal capacity will allow. Or you can pay the short-term price of doing less now so you have time to invest in the success of others. Good leadership creates a multiplier effect that delivers far more results than just the sum of the individual contributions. I know of no investment with a higher return.
If you’re a woodworker who loves working with saws and drills more than leading people, the last thing you should do is start a cabinetmaking business. Get a job working for someone else as a cabinetmaker. You’ll be happier with your tools than doing things like marketing, accounting, and hiring and leading people. Either set down your tools and develop the skills you need to lead and manage or step aside and let people with those skills do their jobs so you can do what you love.
Too Busy to Grow
Too busy to lead means too busy to grow. Spend your time doing the work or invest it leading others for a higher return.
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