If there is one management insight I have learnt in my career of 30 years in several organisations, it is that most managers shy away from hard decisions regarding the weak links in the organisation.

In this regard, I directly reproduce Colin Powell’s words – ‘Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.

In his typical American way, he summed it up by saying. ‘Being responsible must mean pissing some people off’.

You would also notice that the responsibility is seen towards the group, not individuals. I’d say that the responsibility is towards the task, not even groups. Keeping the group intact and the individuals in it happy is fine, if and only if it furthers achievement of the task.

Of course, here I am talking of leaders who are appointed and not those thrown up by the group itself. They are hired and paid by the organisation, not by the people around them.

donkey stallion   My advice? Fix accountability and ruthlessly eliminate those who slow the group down. If a donkey and a stallion are treated alike, who’ll want to be a stallion?

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