1193408_67230066I recently led a live leadership development program for a group of managers and executives.  It’s a start-up and most of the participants had little or no formal training in leading people.  It was a most positive and rewarding way for me to start the new year.

It was rewarding because this group was so committed to learning how to positively manage and lead people.  Even the more experienced managers were open.   The people are bright, the company is cool, the office environment is open and fun, and these managers were excited about learning.  The CEO fully participated in the training, not something I see every day.

He recognizes the need for leadership development, not just pointing at someone and declaring, “You’re in charge of those guys.  Good luck.”  That’s what got my attention about this article, particularly points 1 and 4.  Those in management roles have a huge effect on people but so often they are thrown into the role without any guidance and end up leaving a wake of death and destruction.

So, what are they doing if not leading?

  1. Answering all the questions instead of mentoring people to think for themselves.
  2. Stepping in and doing the work for staff before anyone has a chance to make a mistake.
  3. Criticizing people if they do things differently than the way the manager would have done it.
  4. Taking on the important assignments and assuming no one has the skills to do them right.

Back to my group.  One of the participants had an epiphany:  He had been thinking that if he wasn’t doing all the work himself it might look like he wasn’t productive, thus rendering himself redundant.  Yet he could see the value of multiplying his efforts through others, thus accomplishing much more than he could alone.  All eyes swiveled to the CEO, asking the silent question, “What’s more important to you?”

The CEO set the right tone right there – that it is important for his management team to be effective, not just as senior individual contributors, but also as leaders of people.