Another principle of Slow Leadership

A key decision for everyone is to choose the correct amount of detail you need to be involved in. Getting this wrong causes waste of time and effort. If you need to be aware of fine detail, but you rush it and skim over only the broadest elements, chances are the project will go wrong. You‚€™ll not only have to go back over the detail you skimped, but it will take even longer because you‚€™ll also need to correct mistakes. If you get too close to the nitty-gritty, you‚€™ll create a blockage and drive others mad. The principle of Right Perspective offers the answer.

High-speed leaders typically stick to either the weeds or the mountain tops. They don‚€™t allow themselves time to choose the correct perspective. They‚€™re in too much of a rush. Habit takes the place of judgment. They do the obvious, because they have no time to think of anything better.

The prima donna, ‚€œI‚€™m above all of that‚€Ě types refuse to handle—or even show interest in—anything that smacks of detail. They wave it away with a handful of strategic position papers. Since they can‚€™t be bothered to understand what others need, their instructions are usually vague and laced with the latest jargon. No one knows what they want, so lots of futile work is done while subordinates try to guess.

Why do they do this? Because they‚€™re obsessed with proving they‚€™re strategic thinkers and top executive material. Their actions, of course, prove the opposite, which is why they keep trying to maintain the strategic smokescreen. Or they‚Äôre too lazy and incompetent to do more that talk in jargon and generalities, while trying to prove their superiority.

The obsessive detail checker

If you‚€™re the type who spends all your time down in the weeds on just about every job, you‚€™ll be overworked, harassed, and hated by every subordinate. Part of showing trust is the readiness to stand back and let others get on with handling work for you.

The obsessive, ‚€œI know you can‚€™t do anything right without me‚€Ě types hold everyone up while they insist on being involved with every detail. Since they‚€™re chronically overworked as a result, this can stop progress for days or weeks until they can get to it. Despite this, they work eighteen hour days checking and reworking what others have done before. They trust no one but themselves. They cannot delegate to save their lives.

Why? Because they‚€™re either terrified they may not be needed if others prove that they can do the work without them, or obsessed with avoiding risk.

Right Perspective

The Slow Leadership principle of Right Perspective says that how you see and deal with anything depends on what it is and what is involved. You take enough time to work this out. You don‚€™t resort to habit or convention. You don‚€™t give in to personal paranoia or obsessions. Still less do you indulge in the kind of haste or macho posturing that denies everyone the chance to see things clearly.

Slow Leaders choose according to the circumstances. They can handle detail or broad visions, as required. They take time to discover what others need to get the job done right. They check people know what to do, and have the information and resources they need, then let them get on with it. As a result, the work gets done right first time, saving everyone effort and stress.

As so often, ‚€œslow‚€Ě turns out to be the real ‚€œfast.‚€Ě

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