Monday, March 24, 2014

Leadership Myth #1

First, we advertise for an open staff position, e.g. supervisor, coordinator or manager. Next, we interview potential people. Then, we invite a few to come back for a second round of interviews. Finally, we select the best one and make an offer.

During their first days at work, we have them fill out reams of paperwork. Then, they begin days, weeks, and in some cases even months of orientation. Either on-line or in person, we attempt to help them understand who we are, what we believe in, and where we are going as an organization. This in combination with multiple compliance trainings rounds out the orientation stage.

After that, on-boarding takes place. Here, the new person works with their supervisor to learn the day to day operations of the company, participate in their initial coaching, and receive their first round of goals. Through team meetings and other events, they come to understand how to do their job and how to be successful. They also build relationships with the rest of their team.

And some where in this process, supervisors, coordinators, and managers learn that there job is to come up with all of the answers. I don’t know how this happens, but it is highly destructive mind set, and a clear road to burn-out and dissatisfaction. Being the source of everything has never lead people to become an engaged member of the workforce or to generate clarity through out their area of influence.

Our job is a simple one this week. First, do not embrace the notion that leaders need to be source of all the answers. The best leaders actually ask the better questions, rather than give all the answers.

Second, we need to mentor and coach all the other leaders who are getting stuck buying into this myth.  It is time we help them unload this burden and instead rise to a new level of leadership. 

In short, this may not be easy work but it is important work, especially if we want to keep the best people that we have just worked so hard to recruit, orient and on-board.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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