I while ago invited one of my teams to take part in a straw poll. I wanted to understand what frustrated them, what got in the way, and stopped them doing a fantastic job.
I learned soon learned what frustrated the team. They told me their four top gripes. This is what I heard.
First, rules frustrated the team. That is, rules and processes that made no sense to them.
Digging a little deeper, I realized this wasn’t about rules by themselves, but how the rule book stopped progress.
And, here’s the rub: the business had to make big savings. It needs to do things entirely different.
Often we are distracted by trivial bureaucratic policy and procedure.
The team couldn’t make progress for fear of breaking the rules. It frustrated the team when it couldn’t innovate, since its attention was elsewhere.
Limited Opportunity to Develop Skills
Most teams love to learn. This particular team was no different. Indeed, they were excellent at what they did. Even so, the limited opportunity to develop new skills disappointed the team.
We need skills to propel the organization forward. Yet, the team had no control of their development (in fact, this is common and in many businesses the manager has limited control too.)
Unfortunately, bureaucracy isn’t attentive to people’s feelings or potential. Bureaucracy determines what people should do.
Bureaucracy focuses on weakness, not strength.
The team aspired to be exceptional in what it did, but was frustrated because it couldn't be. The organization wouldn’t invest in the right skills. It failed to develop extraordinary people.
All too often, businesses focus on improving poor performance rather than making their best even better. Do you want to be the best or just good enough?
A Lack of Decisiveness or Commitment
When we make progress, opportunity beckons. But bureaucracy always misses opportunity.
Bureaucracy is indecisive and lacks commitment.
It often frustrated the team that indecision often had the effect of undoing their good work. The business undervalues hard work when it doesn’t take advantage of a new-found opportunity.
Failing to Take Responsibility
Finally, failing to make progress frustrated the team. When they completed their work and handed the baton to another team, nothing would happen. They completed their work, so others could use it to produce results. Unfortunately, at times they chose not to do anything.
When management creates barriers to progress, it cannot expect outstanding results.
Is your team frustrated with your leadership? If so, what are you going to do about it?
The team looks to the leader to take command, remove barriers, and lead by example. Unlocking the potential of teams is just one pursuit of the lazy leader. This is an example of productive laziness.
Being lazy will help you work better and achieve better results. This is what it means to be a lazy leader.
How can your leadership make a difference? What can you do to help your team produce outstanding results? You are welcome to tell us about your experiences in the comments.
Join me, the Lazy Leader, on this journey to find the easiest, simplest way to achieve what is required to succeed in leadership.