Professional challenges come in all shapes and sizes, whether they’re related to strategy making, innovation, process improvements, strategic partnerships, mergers, or technology-enabled transformations. When hard problems are delegated and success is elusive, the go-to reaction is to blame the people involved—starting with the aforementioned rock star. But when princes start looking like pigs, leaders should look in the mirror to see the face of the person who is to blame and who should have led the project all along.
Delegating difficult issues is tempting, but it can only lead to disappointment. Leaders shouldn’t assume that all projects can be assigned to others in the same manner. Day-to-day operational work is safely delegated using the traditional methods of assigning accountability, establishing target outcomes, and monitoring progress. But strategic, change-oriented initiatives require hands-on leadership by senior executives who have the passion, perspective, and power to pull it off.
In this instance, executives must truly be leaders, rather than just sponsors. Sponsorship is a watered-down version of leadership, hallmarked by monthly attendance at well-scripted steering committee meetings. Leadership of hard problems is a hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves, messy job—a set of skills often left behind as executives move up the organizational food chain and away from the day-to-day work routine […]
Read full article via Lead by Doing, Not by Delegating.