On the surface, it all seems pretty simple:
If there’s no leadership, there’s no direction.
(Direction, as in: we’re climbing that mountain, we’re going to fight this battle, or we must achieve this goal.)
If there’s no direction, there is confusion.
And when there is confusion, people start making up their own stories and procedures to get things done. It happens every day in hundreds of companies.
To get a clearer picture of this, imagine that an all-star pro football team has been formed and they are getting ready at the line of scrimmage to run the first play. They have had no coaching, no practice, and no direction, but they all are professional players put together from different teams; they know what they need to do.
As the first play is about to be run, there is no huddle and there is no play called for; the team can only line up and be ready to play. The quarterback calls for the ball, it gets snapped to him, and the first play begins.
What do you think happens?
This is what a company looks like that has no leadership — there is no direction, guidance, or support; just the battle cry: let’s-make-this-happen-people. You see people bumping into each other, heading in the wrong direction or even different directions, and there are some who stand there waiting for instructions. Are you feeling inspired yet?
Does your company work like this?
Do you manage this way?
Or are you being managed by someone this way?
It’s not fun, and it’s not pretty because no matter what is done, it’s wrong. And if by chance it is right, it’s just dumb luck.
Having a self-managed team is great but it doesn't just happen. Someone first has to establish the initiative, define the goal, and then lead the charge. And there needs to be ongoing, consistent support in the form of updates, advice, and encouragement from the leader. People need to know and be acknowledged that they’re doing things right.
When things aren't working well at work, look to the leader. She or he is always responsible for the accomplishments as well as the misfires of an organization.
The leader is always responsible for the outcome. And outcomes originate from the clarity, direction, focus, follow-through, and support that only the leader can provide.
9 Signs That Things Aren't Working Well at Work
- You leave meetings more confused than when you arrived.
- Important decisions are not being made and your boss is nowhere to be found.
- Deadlines come and go without comment or success.
- The first thing that’s addressed when things go wrong is finding out who’s at fault.
- There is no accountability for performance.
- No one ever smiles or laughs.
- “Do the best you can,” are the only encouraging words out of your boss’s mouth.
- Retribution and favoritism are two things that your team is noted for.
- Working there is just not an enjoyable experience.