Speed of a Leader

By Tim Jones   |  

March 02, 2017   |  

Culture, Leadership   |  

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Speed of a Leader

In a good way, in American Football–speed kills.

In the most horrific way, on our roads–speed kills.

In a silent way, in the life of a leader–speed kills leaders, organizations, and success.

Leaders speed for a variety of reasons; there is always a task to be completed and some potential to be swiped off the table. Often times speeding is seen as virtuous for a leader. Having a sense of urgency is a valuable and a needed characteristic for many job functions. Despite what we believe about speed; speed is actually harmful to a leader and her/his team. Despite the positive views on speed and leadership in culture, I believe that speeding is what derails most leaders. Those that speed tend to speed because they assume the following:

  • They assume they know the way before everyone else: This doesn’t seem harmful at first glance, but what tends to happen when you know the way before everyone else, you make decisions before gaining insight and building consensus with the team.
  • They assume building consensus delays arrival time: The only thing worst sometimes than not succeeding is delayed success. Not building a consensus with the team can actually lead to both.
  • They assume their way or idea is really, really, really good or the right direction: In return they often see slowing down as an obstruction to getting their really, really, really good ideas to come to fruition. Eventually this will lead to trust issues in the organization and continue to the collapse of the entire organization.
  • They assume that sharing responsibility and authority is bad: False. The two things actually draw people to your leadership. You win their hearts; they commit to your way of seeing/doing things.

All assumptions are dangerous; these are most certainly dangerous because the speed of the leader almost, always determines the speed of the team. If everyone is speeding, who on the team is present and aware of the pulse of the team? Once the rate at which the leader is operating is abused the organization and the success of the organization will be aborted.

Message to all leaders: don’t stop moving, but please yield.

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