One of the fatal flaw of ineffective leaders is that they often adopt the attitude of, “It will all work out,” and “I don’t want to get involved.” However, organizational models, real history and common sense indicate that is often not the case. While there are always petty matters that do not require a leader’s attention or efforts, there are more pressing matters that a real leader needs to address directly, often without delay or procrastination.
While it is almost never a good idea to act hastily, or over-react without thinking the matter through, it is almost always far worse to do nothing or procrastinate. Leaders who procrastinate are not leaders at all.
Unfortunate, far too many so-called leaders procrastinate because they are either unwilling, unable or too “afraid” to take decisive action, or fear a loss of popularity. True leadership requires ignoring one’s own popularity, and replacing it rather with doing the right thing.
Situations, dangers, obstacles and perils do not simply disappear because you do nothing. In fact, what generally happens when a leader procrastinates, is that the situation is exacerbated.
It becomes far more complex and difficult to overcome because of the “law of unintended circumstances,” meaning that what might have been a rather simple challenge to overcome originally, if acted upon immediately, ends up developing into a far worse situation.
One of the biggest errors made is not paying sufficient attention to small to medium sized expenses, thinking that they were “insignificant” costs in the large picture. As someone who has prepared budgets for decades, financial success or failure often occurs because of the bundling of these small expenses.
If a real leader examined it, he would say that fiscal responsibility is called for, regardless of the expense, and all expenses need to be examined in terms of cost/ benefit. Most ineffective leaders avoid the issue, and then unintended circumstances occur because of the procrastination.
Leaders must never avoid making decisions, regardless of the degree of difficulty. They should examine issues thoroughly, understand them fully, and then proceed in a timely manner to take action. Of course, an ineffective leader can always claim, “It’s not my job.” Each organization must develop leadership training programs so that their leaders act confidently, directly and without unwarranted delay.
By Nathan Dean