Friday, August 27, 2010

Leaders are Necessary

It’s Friday Again,

Just a quick thought on what happens without leadership. You’ll usually hear about how to be a good leader, what that looks like, the results that can be achieved, etc. What happens to your organization when there is no leadership – not bad leadership, everyone’s had to suffer under that at some point, but literally no leadership.

I’ve been watching a show called The Colony on the Discovery Channel (I know it’s cheesy but I find it amusing anyway). It’s a hypothetical scenario where survivors are supposed to try to rebuild in a post-apocalyptic environment. If you ever get a chance to see it you’ll see what I mean. The group that is thrown together, and has been on site for several weeks now, has no leadership to speak. No one rallies the group, informs others of what’s going on, tries to build consensus, or give direction to the group. It’s just a group of individuals living and working near one another.

And the end result is rather interesting. It’s not just lack of efficiency within the group (check), poor prioritization (another check), lack of decision making (everyone seems to make their own), or even insubordination (they’re too timid or apathetic to step up as a leader – so no one’s insubordinate). The real result is confusion. No one has any certainty of what they should be doing or why, if it’s important or not, or what the overall mission is so they may be better able to contribute. What you end up with is rot. The group will rot away bit by bit as it fails to perform at a high enough level to justify its continued existence.

In the scenario on the show this group would not survive, they’d probably all be dead by now (but the show must go on…..). What does survival look like for your group? Your company may be in dire straits right now where survival is just that – the continuation of those paychecks we all enjoy. It may be picking up that new account, eeking out a little more efficiency, or simply successfully completing the next task. Whatever it is, your group needs leadership, whether you’re the one with the title or not. Your co-workers want leadership too, and they need it. You may never hear it (except for the inevitable gripes), but in some ways they know it. Great coworkers will even demand it of their bosses. So, step up, fight the confusion, learn the C4 and apply it.

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