Thursday

Explicit operating principles and effective leadership

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you're a consultant. - Scott Adams
Effective leaders must truly understand their own operating rationale and be able to communicate it to their organization. Too many espouse their company's learning culture, collaboration, mutual respect and niceties such as "carefrontation" -- while simultaneously allowing the kind of hierarchical dictator-like management that create fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). Among many other issues -- this kind of hypocrisy in an organization is a sure way to dilute the effectiveness of someone in a leadership position. Employees who spend their time worrying about keeping their jobs, and kowtowing to a dictator are rarely, if ever, able to contribute as much as those whose leader encourages dialog and mutual respect.

Another major element that distinguishes effective from ineffective leaders is their ability to formulate and communicate a clear rationale and principles behind their own -- and the organization's -- decision making processes. As obvious as this may sound, most cannot do this. Managers who aren't clear about their own principles and rationale will make inconsistent decisions, creating confusion and uncertainty in the ranks below them -- along with anxiety. Employees who don't understand the proper principles and rationale will have to guess at these, or become paralyzed when novel situations arise, and have to wait for instructions -- vastly disempowering the organization.

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