Today’s comments may sound a little a bit like ranting and raving. I am on various Boards; I lead people; I coach a bunch of teenagers in soccer; I coach small business owners for a living, sometimes just for the sheer joy of it. I end up hearing about a lot of problems and opportunities and am thrust into negotiations - essentially, I hear it all.
There is a common link between my experiences in all of the situations I am involved in. As leaders we tend to coach from our seats, stay behind the desk and dole out our wisdom. We tell people what they should do and what they should be thinking. You know what? People don’t learn this way. They can’t act on your advice completely. They will miss parts of it and forget important details.
Are leaders lazy or uninformed? I am not sure. We like to have people to work with and to help. We “graduated up” and are glad we do not have to do the job our staff does – at least sometimes… The main observation I have? Leaders simply need to learn to think differently. We need to get our hands dirty. We can and will see the real world if we roll up our sleeves and go see what our staff is doing. Currently there is big network television show that sends its CEO out to do the line work and see how hard it is to meet the very productivity standards they may have put in place for the business! This show points out what I knew long ago. If you get close to your business and ask your people what needs fixing, they will tell you.
In small business? We have no choice but to work side by side. However, there are still tremendous opportunities to teach and set an example by doing.