The Dark Side of Efficiency

As business leaders, we are taught to be efficient and effective.

However, efficiency has a dark side.  Being a leader requiresknowing how much efficiency is effective.

In the current age of austerity, efficiency seems to have become a measure of effectiveness.  While that might be good for the short-term profitability, those rewards are often short-lived.

It is important for leaders to slow down long enough to listen and coach in addition to delegation.  This can be very hard for high task-oriented working styles.  You may get things done, but what is happening to your team?  What unintended lessons are you teaching them?  Is anyone enjoying working for you?

Beth Comstock, CMO of GE, wrote a great blog on this very lesson taught to her by Jack Welch, the king of efficiency.

Many years ago, I had a mentor of mine tell me, “Your people will only replicate about 20% of the good things you do, but they often duplicate your bad habits 90+%.”

What would your organization look like if everyone replicated 100% of your good and bad behaviors?

I’m not saying you have to be a perfect leader.  That’s not realistic, but I am asking you to be intentional about taking time to listen and coach your people.  Spend time with them.  Get to know their needs and dreams.

If all this sounds too touchy-feely, don’t your own people deserve the same amount of respect you would give a client?

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