A Guide to Ineffective Leadership - Next Action Associates

Regular readers will know that in my blogs I usually focus on ways to be more effective and efficient, to realise the benefits of stress-free productivity.

It occurred to me earlier this week though that I’ve been neglecting an audience that could use some help. What do I have to offer you if you’re feeling like your leadership skills are too effective, too refined, and generating too many positive results? What if you wanted to join the ranks of ineffective leaders?

Here are some tips:

  1. Strategic vision? Who needs it? – George Bush Sr. famously didn’t value “the vision thing”, and neither should you. If it’s important, you’re sure to get an email about it. Considering the big picture, developing strategy and long-term outcomes, and aligning your team to achieve them is a waste of time. If it’s meant to happen, it will happen.
  2. Keep that calendar full – White space is for wimps. Your importance as a leader is directly related to the number of meetings you have in your diary. Ideally, double and triple-book yourself so you can cancel last minute and keep your team on its toes. If you do find yourself with free time, use it only to handle your email backlog. Under no circumstances do any planning or higher-level thinking (see tip 1).
  3. Always be available for work – The best leaders are “always on”. At the office, consistently leave your door open and encourage your people to interrupt you at any time, for any reason. After you’ve left the office, make sure you always have your smartphone on you, and check it regularly, especially during family meals/concerts/religious services. For extra bonus points, answer emails before dawn on the weekends (be sure to copy the boss).
  4. Delegation is for the weak – They promoted you to a leadership position in the first place because you’re better at doing things than anyone else, so why would you delegate? Much better that you hold on to things and make sure they’re done properly. Meanwhile, your team is sure to keep busy doing email.
  5. Stay busy at all costs – Be sure to sacrifice perspective at the altar of busy. Remember, the boss is watching. When she walks by your office, be sure you’re typing, or on the phone with a furrowed brow, or hurriedly wolfing down your lunch while watching the video of your CEO’s latest presentation to staff. Keep your focus on the “weeds”. What you’re doing is much less important than the fact that you’re constantly doing something. The good news here is that the world offers you a constant stream of new things to focus on, so staying busy is easy.
  6. Accept that stress is unavoidable and work-life balance is unattainable – You’re in a leadership position after all. Do they pay you all that money to relax and spend undistracted quality time with your family? To operate with a sense of relaxed, focused control? Get real.

Keep focused on these tips, and you should start to see results immediately. Also, keep an eye out for examples of these practices in other leaders in your organisation. You may find you have quite a lot of company.

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