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Wise Leaders Willingly Forgo Short-Term Team Member Happiness…

Source | LinkedIn : By Patrick Leddin

Wise leaders understand and embrace an important paradox:

In order to avoid disappointing your team members, you must, at times, disappoint them.

This statement may appear absurd and self-contradictory – that’s the nature of a paradox. However, wise leaders know that it is based on sound reasoning.

This doesn’t mean that wise leaders go out of their way to disappoint employees. That’s cruel, perverse, short-sighted, and truly unwise.

It simply means that wise leaders are willing to forgo short-term employee happiness for long-term employee growth, development, and fulfillment.

Let’s face it; immature, inexperienced, and unsure leaders often violate this paradox.

I know that I have violated it myself in an effort to avoid conflict, please an employee, expedite a solution, control a situation, or some other ‘well intended’ reason.

I offer four examples of situations where leaders tend to get this wrong. 

 1. Fail to give candid and timely feedback

Sitting across the desk from someone and giving critical feedback can be difficult. Some leaders are people pleasers. They tend to sugar coat the bad and accentuate the positive. True, the leader could be more direct, but that might make things a bit uncomfortable. So, he opts to say something like, “Things didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but let’s try harder next year.”

The employee is pleased that the performance review is over and he emerges unscathed. The leader appears understanding and compassionate.

What’s the harm?

2. Take a team member’s problem

It is not uncommon for an employee to run into a problem as she goes about her work. When faced with an employee struggling, many leaders want to jump in and solve the employee’s problem. After all, who doesn’t want to be the superhero swooping in to save the day?

The employee is satisfied that the problem is solved. The leader appears competent and helpful.

What’s the harm?

3. Accomplish a team member’s work

Consider an employee who is new to his role. He’s frustrated that he is struggling with one of his new tasks. Along comes the seasoned leader who can tackle the task in a few minutes. She simply makes a couple of phone calls and writes a quick email – ‘presto’ all is accomplished.

The employee is satisfied that the task is done. The leader appears capable and impactful.

What’s the harm?

4. Tell a team member how to do something

A leader asks an employee to complete a project. After the leader shares the purpose of the initiative and explains in detail how the employee should do the work. He provides the tasks, the specific timing, and even how to manage various challenges that might arise.

The employee is satisfied that the planning task is done. The leader appears powerful and confident.

Read On….

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