They say you should lead by example. Work the way you want others to work. set the tone. Inspire others. But by definition, leadership is not the same as management, and management is not the same as operations, so I’ve always thought that while that might be true in sports, it’s not true for business.
When Lockdown 1.0 happened, I had about 200 employees. About half are in the office, and the other half are contractors and employees working from home. The fear is palpable, as a live events company, our business is at risk of being destroyed.
Because I have never experienced a pandemic lockdown before, I do is what most entrepreneurs are likely to do. I lead by example. I get up early and work late. Roll up your sleeves and help in any way I can in every area of the business. After all, if I didn’t, we probably wouldn’t have any business.
I work my best in sales, marketing, customer service, finance, administration and human resources. Get up at 3am to work, work late, and repeat. We have overcome the lockdown and in many ways our business has become better and stronger.
But let me ask you this. If you were the captain and the engine room was on fire, would you run down with the rest of the crew to put it out? Well, I did because that’s what leaders do, right? They lead by example. So who will be at the helm? How does it stay normal? Do you really need extra hands to put out an engine fire without hands on the steering wheel?
leading from the front
because I was in the cabin with the rest of my team Feeling the heat together, our culture completely disappeared. No one can recall our vision. No one knew our strategy, our mission, our values, and everyone was afraid of running around in panic mode and throwing buckets everywhere. They don’t have anyone to guide them because the guide is “leading by example”.
I should finish my work. My job is not their job. I should be leading by example, not by example. I shouldn’t work harder, I should work smarter. I shouldn’t be so busy doing things, I should be less busy thinking. Less management, more strategy. I should isolate myself from the fear and panic of the crowd, which means less, not more, surgery time. More time with mentors who have gone through these cycles. More time to study history. More time to study culture, state and restate vision and mission.
A great company, like a great sports team, will have a diverse mix of tactics and cultures. Diversity of people and positions, roles and responsibilities, and everyone in the organization should have their own Key Result Area (KRA).
The best way to lead is not by example, but by work. In order to do your job well, you need to not be distracted while doing other people’s work, and you need to know what your actual job is.
A lot of example is just for show. See what I’m doing well here. It’s posturing, superficial, and looks like it’s working, not doing your job. Great leaders know their job, they know their job is unique, and the best way to lead is to do their job, and by doing their job, empower and empower everyone else to do theirs Work.