“She’s the glue that holds us together!”
If you’ve said this or thought this at one time or another as a leader you are very likely looking at trouble ahead.
If this is true, you’ve just admitted that the success or failure of an operation or a project is contingent on a single part, not the whole. If it is true, what will you do if she goes away? Your only strategy will be to hope she doesn’t go away.
Hope is not a strategy.
If you have said this as a point of praise to a leader, whether it’s true or not, you have just effectively alienated the rest of your team. It will automatically trigger a reaction for everyone else to question their worth.
As a leader, you would be wise to ensure EVERYONE has some glue on them. To stay with the metaphor, when everyone has at least a little glue on them no one persons’ presence will have a zero-sum impact on a project.
How do you do this?
Ensure when you identify the actions necessary to achieve your mission, or goal, there is someone’s name next to every action. As you look at all the actions you need to take to achieve your mission, ensure you take note of the names next to each action denoting responsibility. If you see one name next to an overwhelming number of actions, you are not ensuring everyone has some glue on them.
Of course, some people provide more value than others. Of course, some people need more guidance than others. This is not the point. The point is to get glue on everyone so the overall effort, and the subsequent success of the effort, is more than just the presence of one or two superstars.
Sorry, no shortcuts here. The concept is easy, the execution is hard. Welcome to leadership!
Errol Doebler is the founder of Ice Cold Leader, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Ice Cold Leader to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coaching, keynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.
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