Leadership is inefficient!

ImageLeadership is about developing team members to carryout the important responsibilities in the organization. This is essential if we are to grow and take on higher-level responsibilities. Developing team members requires time. Therefore leadership is inefficient in the short run. However it is a great investment of our time and energy to reap near medium term to long-term results, as having a developed team will help produce more value and great results.

Given below are 10 common areas where this inefficiency can happen.

  1. Getting the right team member in to the team: We need to first ensure the team member with the right attitude and skills are recruited into the team. This requires spending time on determining the profile of the ideal team member, preparing the right evaluation techniques and spending quality time evaluate the candidates.
  2. Taking time to direct: When a new team member is recruited or transferred in from another area of the organization to our team it takes time to induct and teach. Time needs to be allocated to introduce the new team member to the other team members, work environment, mission, vision, values, customers, products and work processes.
  3. Listening: It is important to actively listen to the team member to understand his/her level of absorption, development, enthusiasm, motivation and concerns. This will enable us to ensure the new team member feels at home soon, ready to take on responsibilities that we are planning to delegate.
  4. Handing over responsibility: It requires us handing over a task that may have taken us 1 hour to complete and it takes our team members double that time as he/she consciously and carefully does the job as requires. We need to have patience knowing that there is a natural curve of gaining efficiency as the skill and confidence improves.
  5. Detailed briefing: It is important to provide a detailed briefing for the responsibilities to be delegated. It requires determining how much of authority needs to be delegated. It requires documenting the details, some of which is in our mind and we do as second nature. Sometimes we neglect to provide the finer points thinking it is common sense. Sometimes what are common senses for us is not so common for others.
  6. Checking work done: We need to also invest time to check the progress of work and the quality of work. This requires reading weekly updates, walking into the areas of operation, speaking to those on the job, discussing variances and brainstorming solutions.
  7. Praising: We need to lavishly praise good work. We need to praise the progress in the process, not only wait for the outcome. While this can take time, it is an important activity to reinforce good behaviour.
  8. Improvement feedback: We need to also give improvement feedback for areas that needs to be better. Instant feedback can be detrimental as it can go packaged with negative emotions such as anger. Therefore it is better to give it some time to cool down, visualize how best to most productively provide the feedback and do so, so that this becomes an effective development activity. The cooling down periods takes time.
  9. Dealing with demotivation of others: Delegating responsibility to one person can demotivate another team member. Therefore it takes time to keep others informed, engaged in other value adding activity and communicate consistently so that we keep the entire team motivated.
  10. Dealing with conflict: It is quite likely for conflict to arise between team members as they work on projects and various tasks as they discharge responsibilities delegated. Therefore it is the leaders responsibility to defuse and manage the conflict to create strong team bonding. This of course takes a lot of time and the energy.
  11. Reporting up: The leader is ultimately responsible for tasks delegated and the reporting responsibility lies with the leader. When we were doing the tasks ourselves it was easy to report in detail as we were at the thick of everything. However when it is delegated we need time to get all the details, ask questions to get clarifications and write the report.

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