In their book, Management? It’s Not What You Think!, authors Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand and, Joseph Lampel offer “leadership realities” that are often overlooked or undervalued in organizations.
The book challenges executives to ask tough questions such as: can you tell the difference between effective strategic planning and planning that amounts to nothing more than time-consuming “nonsense”?
Here are some selected “realities”:
1. Great managers do not always have everything “under control.” Even so, they don’t fear unanticipated change, nor do they allow themselves to get rattled by it.
2. You don’t need a clear understanding of everything your employees do. Jack Welch once joked, “If you’re not confused, you don’t know what’s going on.” It’s more important to know that your staffers can take ownership of their individual tasks.
3. Don’t “present” information. Deliver it. Long presentations, marathon conferences, and the like are time-consuming crutches. Streamline information delivery whenever possible.
4. You don’t have to be “supreme leader.” There are no “single leaders” really. There’s only leadership. Cultivate this quality within your teams.
5. Don’t populate your office with superstars. Superstars have value. So do the middle-of-packers who are ready/willing to take on the grunt work that the stars avoid.
6. If you ain’t first, you’re not necessarily last. You sure don’t want to be “first” to pilot a system upgrade that fails, do you? Best to adapt tools that have a proven track record.
7. Work and private life needn’t be entirely separate. When a senior manager and team members interact and share off-work experiences, it builds bonds that can lead to better quality of work.