Wasted authority is poor leadership

Having run numerous organizations, Bruce Rhoades is now retired. He reluctantly leaves his sail boat on occasion to help with strategy, pricing, technology and product development issues. He also just joined Twitter. Follow him  here.

Poor leaders

All of us have experienced a leader who is controlling, arbitrary and makes decisions with little input from anyone while remaining un-influenceable.  Likewise, we have experienced a leader who does not delegate and demands that he or she make all the decisions while relegating dutiful implementation to subordinates.  These leaders mostly use positional authority to “run” the organization.  This type of leadership and management does not grow people, limits the potential of the organization and creates a stifling atmosphere with little collaboration.  Not good.

Wasted Authority

At the other end of the spectrum is wasted authority, a management trait that results in weak leadership that is also damaging to the organization.  What is wasted authority?  We have all probably seen examples of managers who exhibit this trait:

Delaying decisions and overanalyzing.  In a meeting, all the options for a decision are clear and a decision is needed.  But the manager asks for more analysis, delaying the decision for the whole organization.

  • You can read the details of the following points here.
  • Delaying decisions to hope for consensus.
  • Wandering agendas.
  • The silent elephant.
  • Poor customer response.
  • No recognition.
  • Performance ambush.
  • Too many details.

I am sure that most of us will be able to add to this list of situations where authority was wasted and leadership lost.

The bottom line is that wasted authority and failure to act is just as damaging as the opposite type of leader.  Culture and expectations are established via actions of the leader. Wasting authority results in weak organizations.

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