You go to meetings. You process your inbox. You might make a presentation here and there. You certainly seem busy. But I bet if I asked your team what it is you do all day long, most of them would say, “I have no idea”. And come to think of it, do you know how exactly they spend every day?

In today’s new generation of tech company, leadership and responsibility is more distributed than ever before. People are expected to get the job done, without someone watching or directing every move all along the way. Teams are focused on results, not roles.

So as leaders in increasingly flat organizations without the traditional hierarchy and process of the past, how can we make sure we are still leading effectively? What’s the balance between too hands-on and too hands-off?

Your job as a leader is to let your team do what they’re good at, but you can only give over autonomy once you’ve given them the tools they need and trust that they can execute without you watching over their shoulder. The talk will cover strategies to help you build trust with your team and set up the right guard rails to loosen your grip on the steering wheel and give people what they want in a leader.

by Kate Matsudaira, Founder & CTO at PopForms on Oct 25, 2013

Category: Digital Media, Philosophy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

2 Responses to “Where Does Success Come From?”

  1. JMH says:

    My definition of a leaders, based on historical example and people I have observed at work:

    All leaders have managerial skills, but not all managers have leadership skills. Managers use the available people and resources to achieve a goal within a well understood context. Leaders distinguish themselves this extending their ability to operate in the unknown – they incorporate risk into their decision process and they are comfortable with it. But taking risk is not enough. To earn the title of “leader”, the person has to have on balance a record of success from taking risks.

    A good example of the difference between management and leadership: Truman’s decision to proceed with the Berlin Airlift in 1948, probably the greatest leadership decision of the 20th century IMHO. Truman made this decision again a backdrop of considerable doubt and advice to let the Soviets have West Berlin. He decided to proceed, but the effort was initially a fiasco. Eventually Col. Tunner (Later Lt Gen) was brought in to manage the operation. Lt Gen. Tunner was a superb manager and made it work. He did not make the decision to sustain Berlin, but he made the airlift a success.

    I have seen far to many people in management ranks describe themselves as leaders despite the fact that they avoid risk like the plague. Avoid organizations with such prima donnas..

  2. cbatchelor says:

    Let me help here with the slide on “elements of trust,” which is part of the base of this presentation. This is something I sometimes get the opportunity to talk about in terms of branding.

    If you personally or your company can “be amazing,” as is suggested by Ms Matsudaira, please do so. If you, like me, have trouble with being amazing, especially with the team you work with every day, try this instead to build trust.

    I’m going to use Barry Ritholtz as example, assuming that you trust him as source of information. (If not, well, why are you here?)

    1. Be competent. Are you useful? Being amazing is impossible for me. For me being competent is tough. But, I found if I am going to have trust issues if I can’t get the basics right often. Ritholtz has never amazed me, but I have over time found his big picture analysis of the markets and the problems with our financial system, and how to react to them, often useful.

    2. Have integrity. Do what you say you are going to do. Be on time. Hit deadlines. And, when you do not do what you said you were going to do, when you were going to do it, make dead certain you make clear to everyone who is impacted by your failure that you see it as a problem and you take it very seriously. Ritholtz told the world he was going to do a blog and post interesting stuff for everyone to read. And he does, or sees that it happens…Every freaking day. And when he’s late, he acknowledges it. Simple? Try it for just a week.

    3. Care. Give a rip. If you want to be trusted, you have to care about others you’re working with. And the project. And the people who will use your service or product. And the stockholders. And your nation and everyone in the world. Caring will wear you out at times, and sometimes it’s hard to care. But, if you want to be trusted, then care. Ritholtz reads a lot of the comments on his posts, often reacts when he thinks people have it wrong. Why? Because he cares.

    So, the key elements of trust are competence, caring and integrity. Easy.

    Well, no. All of the values are important, but… if you’re having brain surgery, it’s competence you’re mostly looking for, not caring so much. (The TV show “House” about the jerk doctor played on the drama and humor of this.)

    Not everyone values integrity, caring and competence the same way. The weight of each of these elements of trust can shift in even an individual. The context can change depending upon when the message is given, where the message appears and, of course, who is talking and who is listening. And when.

    I see managers communicating caring when at time time their key audience is more concerned about competence. I often see managers focusing on their competence when the issue is their integrity.

    Not easy. And, more bad news. Once you lose trust, it’s almost impossible to restore it. On the upside, we are more trusting of people or brands who have a long, proven track record, such as ol’ Barry Ritholtz, for good reason. It’s the power of an established brand. Ritholtz could be a, gee I dunno, maybe a Kodak or Oldsmobile.

    (I’d Google “relationship architecture,” but I’m not sure I really want to know what it is…)