Whenever I hear the term “hands-on leadership”, I think of DIY (do it yourself). DIY projects turn out poorly for most of us. Certain things don’t look that difficult. How hard can it be? The question is really a statement of ignorance, isn’t it? So, we jump in and the rest is history. Even if it turns out pretty good, it took you longer and cost more than you thought.
There are two motivating factors for the DIY project. Either you really like working with your hands or you are disgusted over the price of hiring a professional. A professional is simply someone who does “it” every day. When you concentrate on one thing, you typically become a professional.
Leadership is the same way. You have to study it and practice it in order to understand and engage like a professional. Hands-on leadership is an oxymoron. Frankly, I don’t understand how hands-on and leadership can live together in the same person. Hands-on means I am doing it. Leadership means I am empowering others to do it.
Empowering others involves modeling, teaching, coaching, and setting a direction. It does its work in and through others. It is spiritual, transformational, and highly relational.
Hands-on leadership, if there is such a thing, does work over, under, and around others. It is transactional and task-oriented. In fact, it is bothered if it must include others.
Simply put, empowering leadership is difficult. It requires a commitment to capable and willing people. Helping them assess their strengths and applying them appropriately. Recognizing their growth and successes. Supporting them when mistakes are made. Guiding them toward organizational alignment. And being available is a key attribute of empowering leadership.
Take a step back and evaluate your daily tasks.
What should you stop doing that others are willing and able to do?
What should you start doing that increases your leadership effectiveness?
What should you continue to do that others appreciate about your leadership?
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