Better some method than madness.
Leadership coaches and gurus like Robin Sharma and John Maxwell encourage respect for peers and subordinates as a key attribute of a good leader. But a good professional leader needs to have respect for two other aspects that are vital to most businesses — Roles & Responsibilities and Method. The pictorial below shows these essential aspects of respect.
The absence of a clear definition of each team member’s role and responsibilities and adherence to it makes it very unlikely that a work unit of any size and at any level in the organization will realize its potential. Although it may seem obvious, it has been my experience over decades of work that many employees do not know their precise role and even when they do they will often not be performing to it or performing it well. This is either due to organizational slackness or their personal proclivities.
Also, not having a method to deliver the outputs of the organization can make it turbulent, wasteful of energy and prevent the institutionalising of learning. Methods enable repeatability and efficiency that in turn provide quality, economy and faster outcomes. It is as true of white collar work as for say, manufacturing. Unfortunately, it is also my experience that the need to bring ‘method to the madness’ of chaotic work is a common situation. (I have avoided the word ‘process’ here due to the negativity associated with it in the sense of ‘red tape’ or ‘bureaucracy’. But, having a defined process is analogous to having a method.)
Management and leadership based on a respectful attitude simultaneously for People, Roles & Responsibilities and Method are not weak. Rather, it is the best recipe for long-term success. Managers and organizations that practise this are likely to have a healthy and productive working environment and gestate success.
Some will feel that all this can make work boring, but creativity does not die from doing things in an orderly way. Method and innovation can co-exist, nurture each other and flourish. That’s a topic for another day.
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