Not Taking Charge* : Blunder #6

You can take too long to take charge.  It undermines your leadership, as people will see you as passive, disengaged, or uncaring.

I’ve seen managers new to a company take their time “listening” to the company or the department, making sure that people know that the leader is “connecting” with them, and is thoughtful and informed.

Being connected before making decisions is positive, but this must be balanced with decisiveness, especially on key issues.

One Senior Client Manager wanted to make sure that the Project Team was being responsive to the client, and not hassling the design team.  He held meeting after meeting with the Project Team to get their view on things, and they all told him that the design team was a bottleneck to get their job done, and that it was damaging their ability to meet the near-term project milestone.  They all conveyed to him how important it was for him to go to the Design Team manager and speed up the re-designed plans.  But he just dragged his feet.  He later explained to me that he just didn’t want to come across too aggressively to the Design Team.  Naturally, the Project Team lost trust in this manager as a capable servant for their needs as they missed the milestone, and the manager damaged his own credibility.

*Taking Charge and Not Taking Charge must be balanced based on needs of the team and the situation for timing, intensity, and duration.  In other words, you can take charge too quickly, too much, and for too long.  And you can wait too long, and not be in charge enough.

If you only have one option, then you’ll probably blunder at least some of the time.

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