Low-challenge leaders have an empathetic heart for people. They want to protect the people they are responsible for because they believe that everyone on the team expects them to. That protection is not the sole role of a leader and when it becomes the ultimate governor of decisions, it has a cost. Over time, a low-challenge leader will lose high-capacity people. The false narrative that all people on the team want to be protected from high-challenge is a common, but a large mistake. Some people join a team to be challenged. Others need inspiration to get to that point. When high-challenge people leave the team for lack of growth, the team is left with people that only expect low-challenge. At this point the low-challenge leader’s narrative becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not only will the team never reach its potential, but the leader will think that their leadership style is spot on. Does this make anyone else’s stomach churn?
I disqualify myself from making decisions that I have limited insight into making. This includes areas of expertise that I don’t have. Googling something doesn’t make me an expert. Surviving a similar circumstance doesn’t either. The expert is someone that has proven to be successful time and again in a specific area or circumstance. Having the authority and responsibility to make a decision doesn’t mean the ideas have to originate from me. I have to seek information to make an informed decision my own.
It’s not enough for a good leader to surround himself with good people. Leaders must allow those people to do what they were hired to do. Sometimes it’s easy to just go with our own assumptions when those assumptions affirm the direction we prefer. Unfortunately, even as a leader, our own inexperience can cause us to doubt the wisdom of the expert we chose to include on our team. Great leadership doesn’t just hire well. Great leadership trusts those that they hire to make decisions.
A team’s potential is correlated directly to the strength of the leadership of the team. Every leader needs to realize that they are likely holding the team back in some way. That’s a tough truth to accept but great leaders not only accept that they have liabilities, but do their best to mitigate them. They avoid being the lid on the team’s potential at all costs by surrounding themselves with people that can cover their liabilities.
Resources are a limit. Manpower, space, money, and supplies are all finite and therefore a limiting factor. It’s up to the team to understand their resource limit. Teams that do not accept their resource limit end up broke. They live paycheck to paycheck and never really get ahead. This makes everything seem harder. Resources are not always about the amount but about management. Great resource management first acknowledges the limit and then plans. Ordinary “broke” teams plan, then find out when they run out of resources. Who wants to live that life? Sadly, most people.