"So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work."
"When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out."
A team leader has a clear role, to combine and focus the talent and skills of the team towards a goal. With such a clear role it is quite shocking how often team leaders hinder their teams ability to work and do such a bad job at leading that the team would be better off without leadership. There are many reasons why the leadership may end up reducing the productivity of the team rather then boosting and focusing it. This article will examine some of the reasons for this.
One of the most common reasons for leadership hurting the team is simple incompetence at the role of leader. Many people get to be a team leader for all the wrong reasons and are just not suited or trained properly for the role, they don't know or misunderstand their role and blindly fumble from day to day getting nowhere near the maximum from their team. The way they hurt their team can be varied from assigning the wrong people to tasks to upsetting team members and hurting moral. They can often take out their anger and insecurities about their own ability to do their job on their team members, hurting moral and creating a gulf between the team member and leadership. It can take a long time for the larger organisation to spot and route out this problem and the leadership is rarely watched closely and the leader will never give themselves as the reason for poor productivity.
The next type of leader is the bully. The bully has taken on the leadership role the wrong way and has seen it as power over the team. They have let the power go to their head and instead of leading their team they treat them with disdain. The bully will hurt moral and dramatically hurt production. People will only do as much as they need to do to not get fired when their motivation is negative. People will also take more time off work due to stress. The bully may be easier to spot than the incompetent leader but will often be intimidating and manipulative to those in charge so will less often be removed from their role.
The micro manager is another leadership type which can hurt the team. There are a few reasons for a leader becoming a micro manager. The first one is they are new to the role and are going in heavy handed trying to be a really good leader and overdoing it, it is common for new leaders to overdo it both to impress their superiors and because they may not feel like a leader and need to prove it to the team with lots of shows of leadership. Another reason is they can't trust their team and have to look over everything they do to make sure it is right. This hurts productivity and quality of work as the work is being slowed by the leaders interference and because the leader is often making changes to something produced by someone more qualified in that role. This can also hurt long term quality as the team does work based on what the leadership approves on rather than which is best for the company. The micro manager fails at one very important aspect of leadership, getting the best out of your team. The leader has to trust the person performing each task knows what they are doing and if they don't, should hire someone who does.
All leaders should stop and think when making a decision, how is this going to help my team. If nothing comes to mind then it is probably a good idea not to do it.