I have been thinking about my leadership series a bit lately and found that I really have not spent much time on the “leader” to” subordinate” relationship. I think there are many was that this relationship can fail, while the way to succeed is somewhat consistent.
Success to me is fairly easy to describe: two people in an open, trust-based, adult-to-adult discussion of whatever they have a stake in together. They work together to decide how to address both technical and people issues.
- They make agreements or promises – and follow-up on them.
- They understand that some things are negotiable and some are not. Just call them out.
- They have very little that they can not discuss. Especially, if they are sharing feedback on one another’s performance and style. In one on one’s the “boss” shares – why can’t the “subordinate” share back?
I think it is easy to describe this; could be hard in the real world. It is a partnership where we all strive to have at work.. Working together, effective outcomes and a sense of accomplishment. What do we see more of? Failure?
Examples of failure that I have seen are:
- A leader who is too non-directive. They maybe great at asking questions and encouraging others to think for themselves, but if overdone, employees fell they are simply not getting any help.
- The too directiver leaders really sticks their nose in. This is great for promoting folks to not think for themselves. I overheard the other day, “Shoot the boss knows, we will be told soon…
- A leader who holds on to too many tasks maybe reserving his or her power to make all the key decisions. Leader feels like – why are the others not picking up on this stuff? The employee’s look at the leader and wonder when are he/she going to let go and let us do our jobs.
- A leader that delegates everything away. They definitely lost the chance to engage with any level of guidance and problem-solving (if needed).
Somewhere in the middle we get that leader who is versatile, flexible and drives a partnership with their team.