From the Ask Tom mailbag-
Continued from yesterday –
I recently had a conversation with a leadership guru that stated that you don’t need formal structure in a small business, if you have good leadership. He indicated that you don’t need documentation, role descriptions, or even much for KPIs.
The problem with “good leadership” is that it becomes person dependent. We are juggling three balls in the air.
- Small Business
- Good Leadership
Leadership vested in a single individual, is person dependent. It may work in a small business because there aren’t that many people. A handful of people can follow a single individual, because if there is any doubt as to who has the authority to make a decision, the team can just ask the leader. That also means the leader must be available (proximity). But, if all decision making must go through the leader, as the company grows larger, what happens to the speed of decision making. Slows down, or stops.
All decisions going through the leader is a hallmark of a small business and assures that the business will remain small. If all problems have to be solved by the leader, as the company grows larger, what happens to the speed of problem solving? Slows down, or stops.
Good leadership requires competent management skills. Good management requires competent leadership skills. You can’t have one without the other (please, no discussion about leader vs. manager). Effective leadership, among other things requires clarity. Poor leaders will be uncertain in their decisions and communicate ambiguity to the team. Good leadership requires clarity. So, if your leadership guru says all you need is good leadership, I might agree, but only if that definition requires the formalization of things like role descriptions, documentation and KPIs. That’s what good leadership is, it’s clear.