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I don’t care about you or your job. I care about me and how I look to the people above me. You will rarely hear a supervisor say these words. However, we all know it’s what poor supervisors are thinking by their actions. And poor supervisors are all around us.

Push-Burn Leadership. This is a leadership style that can alienate the people you need the most. This trait will cause you to become disrespected and be viewed as an ineffective and worthless leader.  

The Push-Burn Style of Leadership: You have products, projects, widgets, tasks, and goals to carry out. You have quotas to meet. You have to meet the demands of higher ups who are elitist pencil pushers sitting in their ivory towers dictating production based on disconnected evaluations of the people who actually do the work. What should you do? First, here’s what the majority of weak-minded poor supervisors do: PUSH their subordinates with unrealistic and unsustainable long-term goals. It may seem that production is sustained in the short-term, but this type of leadership is a house of cards which will eventually come crashing down. You will not continually turn out quality results month after month. What happens when production slows? Poor leadership dictates that you PUSH again. Your people are becoming unhappy and low morale is developing? Poor leaders PUSH harder. 

This type of leadership may work in the short-term. Unfortunately, the result will be BURN OUT from those you rely on to make you look good to your disconnected bosses. That’s assuming your sole purpose in this world is to be a vertical people pleaser and you really don’t care about what’s going on out on the floor below you. Low morale and burn out should be your first clue that you’re asking too much and giving too little. Go ahead and keep pushing. This type of leadership usually ends up meeting the minimum monthly goals and quotas and in the end makes you a disrespected and vilified leader. Your workforce will learn to take short-cuts to meet your demands. How’s that working for you?

Here’s what good leaders do: 

  • Be realistic – Don’t immediately drop the hammer and threaten your people if you find your teams numbers are slipping. That’s going to cause your subordinates to build a wall of resistance. It’s counterproductive. Try asking your people what they think the loss of productivity is attributed to. Do they have the resources? Are you asking for too much work in a too short amount of time? Remember – these are the ones who produce the work and make everyone look good. What’s the point of yelling at them every month when you have never bothered to ask them what’s wrong with the system? Do you even know how to do their job or have you allowed yourself to become disconnected as well? Get on the floor and find out how the job has evolved since you left the general work force. 
  • Holy smokes, your people have spoken and given you ideas to change the environment? Excellent! Now do something! A great leader sees issues and takes responsibility if they’ve been foolhardy and irresponsible in taking care of their people.  They own up to letting down their subordinates and take the necessary steps to fix a broken system. A sure way to fail is to deliver scripted management drivel such as We can do this or Let me look into that. Instead, restore your subordinates faith in you as a great leader and stand up for them. Your widgets aren’t going to make themselves. Your people will. A leader’s job is people, not product. Make a great team and tons of productivity will follow with very little effort on your part.
So, who do you want to be? A great leader or a pusher who burns out the team? The choice is yours. No, you don’t get to waffle. You get to achieve greatness by focusing on respecting those who make you look good.
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