haruki zaemon

Discomfort required

  1. by Simon Harris
  2. May 15, 2023
  3. 1 min

Leading people is uncomfortable and requires overriding the urge to “fix” everything and everyone.

The instinct to avoid failure (rather than seek success), and the pressure to deliver, cause people to optimise for efficiency over effectiveness. Except, the efficiency is an illusion–you will always have to pay back the debt (people, time, resources) you borrowed to get to whatever outcome you thought you could achieve faster.

If the thing you care most about is perfectly executing, then telling people what to do, and in what order is fine. Except, only a handful of people will learn from the experience, and you’ll need to continue with the command and control approach on the next thing. That doesn’t scale.

Leadership requires constantly communicating intent. Leadership requires constantly seeking to understand. Leadership requires constantly bringing people back into alignment. Leadership requires scaling through others by giving them agency. Leadership requires empowering and supporting people to try, fail, and learn.

(via Harold Jarche):

In the book Range, David Epstein states that, “learning is most efficient in the long run when it is inefficient in the short run” […] There is no Red Pill.

Leadership takes a lot of effort and feels inefficient.