Getting Away

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man with briefcaseIf you can’t get away from your organization then you are either…

…A lousy leader or
…You can’t hire well or
…You have an inflated need to be needed

A Lousy Leader. A lousy leader struggles to delegate, so they have to be on-site all the time in order to get things done.

Two flaws in lousy leader thinking:
1. They assume if they hate to do something everybody hates to do it.  Not true!
What one person loathes another person loves.  Hate making phone calls?  Someone loves making phone calls.  Can’t stand spreadsheets? Some one gets warm and fuzzy feelings from spreadsheets.  You have to know your team in order to know what each member loathes and loves.

2. They delegate only what they don’t have time to do.  Real delegation is about effectiveness not time management.  Give something to an employee because you trust their effectiveness not because you don’t have time to do it.  In truth, waiting to give something away because you don’t have time says, “I’m not asking you to do this because I trust you.  I’m asking because I’m to busy.”

You can’t hire well.  Visionaries are not the best at hiring.

Visionaries in non-profits tend to be founders or senior pastors.  A visionary tends to sell the company to a potential-hire rather than discover if the person is a fit for the company.

If you’re a sole-proprietor or the only pastoral leader, then ask a friend to help you interview.  It’s common for organizations to have multiple interviews, so ask a person with hiring experience if they would volunteer their time to conduct a second-round phone interview.

The potential hire doesn’t have to know the interviewer is an outside volunteer. Once the phone interview is over, the volunteer can give you a more objective opinion regarding the interviewee’s fit with your organization.

You have an inflated need to be needed.  There is a crazy cycle that happens with people who need to be needed.  Once they are needed, they wish people didn’t need them so much.  Until people don’t need them, at which time they long to be needed.

I worked for a boss one time who intentionally put employees in situations where they would “need” him.  But he also complained a lot about needy employees.

The need to be needed is usually based on insecurity.

If you have a hard time getting away because your employees/members need you but you’re frustrated at them for needing you, then you are an insecure leader.  You probably don’t know that because you also have an ego large enough to mask your insecurity, so here are a few signs.

1. You use your irritations to lead.  If in meetings or hall passings you expect employees to read your mood and behave accordingly, then you’re insecure.

I was in a meeting one time where an insecure boss asked for the team’s honest opinion.  We all glanced at each other because we we’re reading the boss’ “mood-meter” as approaching edgy.  One guy had the resolve to speak honestly but his perspective didn’t match the boss’ mood, and so his honesty got him a degrading tongue lashing.

Do you know what that moment taught everybody on the team?  Do not share your perspective when it clashes with the boss’ mood, even if your perspective needs to be said because you will pay.  That insecure reaction cut a leader off from vital future information, and earned him many days of needing to be on-site in order to discover things for himself.

2. You talk about employees but don’t talk to employees. If as a leader you are willing to tell one employee what bothers you about another employee, then you are insecure.

I have experienced some insecure leaders with Jedi-master level skills of talking about their employees.  Insecure leaders can drop a “mind-tricking” question into a conversation just to see how employees respond.

“So while we are talking about these reports that Tim created…by the way what is Tim’s deal lately, he seems stressed?”

That is a question from an insecure leader.  Tim should be asked that question, not the “group minus Tim”.

Leaders who talk about employees usually worry that employees talk about the leader, so it’s best not to get away.  Insecure leaders have to stick around more often to monitor office opinions and if necessary “use the force” to shape those opinions.

Join the Conversation:  Have you ever worked for a lousy leader, a poor hire or a needy boss? If so, did they ultimately cause you to “get away”?

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