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Leading by Example Has Its Limitations

November 11, 2018

Learning and owning a new job with a lot of ‘hustle’ can be a formula for success.  The hustler may be assigned to additional details as his value is recognized.  This only sharpens his expertise as he gains responsibilities.  He is seen as committed to the mission and destined for a management role. Highly-motivated workers may also be tempted to take on more than they can handle. This can be a self-serving strategy to set themselves apart from other employees.  But ultimately, the high-performer tends to prevail and is promoted.


As a new manager, he’s still prone to apply his usual work ethic.  But as manager, there are increased expectations with time limitations. His style might lead to confusion and burnout. As a result, he may choose to review his “formula” and reluctantly give in to sharing the work load along with the successes. Then the realization of efficiency settles in; instead of doing it all, he shifts his focus to getting it all done!  Edgar Schein points out that "cultural change is a transformation process; behavior must be unlearned first before new behavior can be learned in its place."


This is where leadership skills are developed, and teams are built. Managers learn to delegate in a fashion that inspires employees to respond efficiently and with purpose.  The team begins to recognize their personal influence on the success of organizational goals! This understanding of one’s personal value to an organization and its accomplishments creates functional ‘buy-in’ and loyalty.  Delegation done well can drive employees to new heights of engagement.


~Picking up after yourself has its virtues.  Picking up after others is failed leadership.~Bob Ringstrom

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