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Are You Doing Things or Getting Things Done?

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You’ve heard before. I know you’ve felt it before. In fact you may have even said it before. No one can do it as well as you can do it. And if you want it done right (the way you think it should be done) then you better go ahead and get your hands dirty and do it yourself.

There’s an incredible inner tension that leaders must manage. Leaders have an acutely accurate picture in their head about what the future should look like. That’s why they’re leading in that direction. But to get there, they have to trust that picture to others.

It’s not bad to do things. After all, someone has to. Or else they won’t get done. But effective leaders know their role is to be more concerned about getting things done than doing things.

When a leader doesn’t manage this tension well and begins to drift towards doing things, instead of getting things done, bad things begin to happen.

1. Progress Slows to a Crawl

When you have to do everything, guess what, you end up doing everything. And one person can only do so much. When the leader refuses to trust and empower others they themselves become the lid on the vision.

2. The Organization Turns Inward

When the leader becomes consumed with day-to-day efficiencies and operations they’re consumed with the problems of today as opposed to the opportunities of tomorrow.

3. The Culture Turns Toxic

When the leader has to have their hands on everything, be in on every decision, and have their way the team will become acculturated to pleasing the boss as opposed to executing the vision and all sorts of dysfunction will set in.

4. Your Best People Leave

High performers want to be a part of meaningful work and making meaningful decisions that move things forward. If they are given responsibility without authority, or worse not trusted with either they’ll leave in a heartbeat. One of the ways to keep your best leaders is by letting them lead. The real downside when this begins to happen is what you’re left with is yes-men and people who are content to sit by and watch you do everything.


Posted in Leadership

One Response to “Are You Doing Things or Getting Things Done?”

  1. Jonathan September 6, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    I know this, and yet I don’t KNOW this! Thanks for the reminder…here’s to growing as a leader!

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