Are You An Absent Leader?

In your heart, you’re a good leader – you care for your people, you help them grow.

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But you’re rarely there.

You’re just so darn busy with everything you have to do. So many fires to put out, so many urgent To-Do’s. So you cancel your bi-weekly meeting with your employee and you rarely have time to listen to them.

You’re an Absent Leader! And there’s a high cost.

In our work with our clients we see lots of Absent Leaders. The interesting thing is how their employees cope.

Employees of Absent Leaders:

Don’t ask questions. They know their Boss is super-busy and they don’t want to make it worse by asking for help.
Solve problems alone. They decide on their priorities and resolve issues with no input from their manager.
Stress a lot. They wonder if they are doing the right thing, they doubt themselves frequently.
And the funny thing is – employees defend their Absent Boss. They tell us that they feel sorry for their Boss. They never complain. Most companies don’t even know they have a problem with absenteeism!

While you’ve got to commend your employees for their resourcefulness, this is very dangerous for an organization. Here are the risks:

Your employees don’t have the “big picture” to make the right call. They make mistakes, they focus on the wrong priorities. And you won’t know.
They play it safe. They don’t take on critical but risky tasks, they don’t perform as well as they could.
They miss out on coaching. They don’t grow as quickly as they could with your help.
And the crazy thing is – this makes you even more busy. Fewer things happen, your people don’t take things off your plate – no, they end up on your plate!

How do you stop being an Absent Leader?

You’ve got to make three shifts in the way you think and work:

Your job is to grow them. 80% of your paycheck compensates you for growing your people. Do you earn it?
You have to invest time to save time. A great team takes work off your plate. Investing time now will allow you to give them more freedom to work alone later. But you’ve got to get them there first.
Do less, delegate more. Spend less time doing things yourself. Give them more of your critical tasks but check-in and work together on the problems. Let them make some mistakes but be there to coach them.
Are you an Absent Leader? If so you are limiting your team, and making your life insane. Invest time in your team to save time for yourself.

Do you work for an Absent Leader? Are you one yourself? What’s the cost? Please share your story in the comments below.


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