You Should Show Them How To Do It
If there is only one thing that every boss can do, it is to command.
You can command anyone under you to do almost everything you want. Some tasks you have never done them before. Some tasks you don’t even know how to do those things. This just got interesting.
I have been working on this project for almost two years. My company partners with a big hardware company to create a solution for a very big client. Two years sound like a long time but unfortunately we didn’t make much progress. We haven’t signed a full contract with the client to officially kick this project off yet. We spent most of our time doing a proof of concept system again and again to make the client feel more comfortable to sign. We are getting closer but still having some work to do.
I didn’t like this situation because my team is working “for free” without anything in return. I didn’t like that but I didn’t complain (I cannot complain a high-challenging standard that the client set out to meet). My team and I kept our heads down and did the best we can to push it through.
On the other side, management of the hardware company hated the situation. They were pissed off because of a delay in the project which results in a failure to hit their revenue target. Month after month. Quarter after quarter. Year after year. They are mad … very mad.
So they did what they do best — to command. They commanded their people to do stupid things, because they don’t really understand what is happening in the field.
They commanded their people to push pressure on the client to sign a contract. They commanded their people to monitor what my team was doing even though they knew nothing about software. They commanded their people to find some tricky tactics to get this through.
For months, they kept doing that and nothing changed. Problems still there. The client sat tight and waited.
They didn’t know what to command next so they started firing people. As of now, she is the third account manager I have worked with in the last four months. They showed their power. They pushed pressure on their people.
At that point, there was one question emerged in my mind. “What will happen after they fire the last one of their people?”
“Who is going to continue to work on this project?” And more importantly,
“Will they consider stepping down from the throne to do this work themselves?”
I very very doubt that.
This is because they are just bosses, not leaders. They don’t really know how to deal with this situation. They have no direct experience in such a project and no knowledge about what the client wants exactly. They have no idea that the problems are actually caused by their not having the ability to deliver as promised, and their unprofessional actions.
They know they will also fail (hard) just like their people. And when that happens, they will have no one to blame but themselves. They will have no one to fire but themselves. They will expose to the world that they are also a group of incompetent people. They cannot allow that to happen. That’s why they chose to command rather than fought side by side with their people.
This is a shame, a real shame.
Someone says “a boss knows how to do it, but a leader shows how to do it”. It is very true. Taking real actions is an obvious characteristic that separates a leader from a boss.
There is an easier way. It starts with being honest with everyone around you. You say yes when you think you can do it. You say no when you cannot do it. You say sorry when you make mistakes. You say thank you to your people when they do good. You raise your hand when you need helps. You take actions before anyone else. You stand up in front of the room to defend your people when things go side way.
Being a leader is not that difficult at start. It’s just a matter of one question — “Are you ready to give away all credits and embrace all the blames?” If you are, taking real actions is not as scary as you think.
Don’t be like them.
I remind myself this every single morning.
Thinking and writing are the things I like. Sharing is what I love. Because of them, I write everyday to share stories from my thoughts and experiences, from the future I see and believe in. Everything I use to build Inthentic a better home. A home of people who want to do good things and give back. A home that is a small starting point of changes for a better society. I am proud of what I am doing. And even prouder to know that I am not doing it alone.
Thanks for reading. :-)