Browsing Tag

getting things done

Stuck in the Middle: The Committer

I haven’t done a piece around leadership personas for a while.  The main reason is things haven’t been that slow to think about leadership styles of late and I have just been getting things done, rather than thinking about things.   What a quandary, so I’m writing another piece on leadership, perhaps just to feel a little better about myself or to help a friend out.

This series is basically a pragmatic look at leadership, management and execution as it relates to dealing with specific leadership personas and how to get things done effectively inside a given management mode. Some of the other one’s I’ve addressed are The Collaborator, The Geologist, The Amoeba, The Visualist, The Fence Mender, The Vassalizer, The MBIFM, and a couple of other ones.

It is always an interesting set of problems to solve when thinking on how organizations can communicate better, develop their people, how to look at executing as an organization more effectively and how contributors can create excitement in a given role, even if they have been there a long time.  It might be important to note, that everyone needs to contribute – leadership is as much about a team and doing what needs to be done, as it is about “managing”.  It’s the last concept which got me back to thinking on this series based on a conversation I had with a friend the other day. Karen is consistently having items thrown into her queue without regard of any other items in progress and it is done via a series of ad hoc commitments which are cascaded down via email with no other interaction.

The challenge/situation is how can you keep up and be successful when someone continuously delegates new tasks without acknowledging capacity/understanding the effort to produce or providing additional context/assistance to ensure success.   I can certainly understand the troubles associated with this type of situation, which brings me to writing on this leadership persona.  Over commit and under deliver – not sure how this helps anyone – the investors, the customers or the associates.  At the end of the day, you have to manage expectations and deliverables – even if they are outside of your control.

As a product manager, I quickly came to grips with the reality that you have none of the authority, but all of the accountability, so working effectively through others is a keen skill to have no matter what role you have.   That being said you need to have an environment which allows for achievement and the opportunity for meeting the needs of the key stakeholder and constant agreement and confirmation that you will get it done while positive can lead to issues down the road.

So how do you deal with this? Communicate, communicate, communicate.  It also helps to make sure everyone understand what is being work on, who owns it and when it can be done.  Transparency is the key to success in this leadership model.  If everyone knows what needs to be done, is aware of the current prioritization and is aware of value for the folks who benefit from what is currently in the queue you have the opportunity to drive to closure the right items for the business, the customers and your employees.