Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, accurately summed up the responsibility of a leader:
“Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions, so that the world doesn’t fall apart if you take a day off.”
Perhaps no concept in business is more essential, and at the same time so colossally misunderstood, than delegation. Any rational person knows that they have strengths and limitations. It follows, that tasks should be divvied based on each employees abilities.
Yet for some reason, many business struggle to properly delegate—and the consequences are severe. Sloppy projects. Missed deadlines. Angry clients.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now before everyone gets up in arms, I’m certainly not advocating violence in any shape or form. But I do want to bring attention to a fundamental issue that, unfortunately, tends to get skated over a bit.
It’s no secret that company culture is a critical element to success in any business. It’s a huge reason for the success of companies such as Google, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines. Quality employees and valuable clients alike are attracted to a place with a vibrant, positive culture.
Great culture starts at the top. Those in executive and managerial positions have the power to set the tone for the workplace environment. It’s an enormous, far-reaching responsibility, because the environment they create will ultimately determine the quality of the employees and the business they attract. Guess that’s why they’re paid the big bucks.
There is a common denominator that all companies with great culture tend to share: they understand that there is a difference between managing and leading.