I see a lot of chatter around this general idea:
“Leaders don’t command what they are unwilling to do themselves.”
I understand the sentiment, but when even slightly misinterpreted this mentality does more harm than good.
At its core this thought promotes the myth of the “well-rounded leader.” Problem is, nobody can do everything well.
This idea adheres to the same philosophy that demands executives spend two years in every department in the company on their climb “up.”
I promise you — talented people do not need to spend two years in an area of weakness to appreciate the value of it. What they do need is to get enough exposure to able to speak intelligently about it and communicate that area’s importance, and then they need to be moved as quickly as possible to their area of strength.
If these paths don’t exist, then we need to create more ladders.
The truth is, good leaders assign out a LOT of things they are unwilling to do themselves, because they know that another person can do certain things MUCH better than they can.
Photo by Kelly Kerr.