One does not need to be overly gifted in administration to be a leader. Many have made the case that leadership and management are different from one another. Joseph Rost, in his work Leadership for the 21st Century, argues that both leadership and management are essential but distinct from one another. In his view, management is more about administration and organization, and leadership is more about clarity of direction and values.
Some great leaders are simultaneously good managers and gifted in administration. But not all leaders are. At the same time, leaders must reach a threshold of organizational skill or their disorganization becomes a debilitating weakness and holds back the team they are leading. It is bad leadership for leaders to shrug their shoulders and laugh about their disorganized leadership. Here are three ways a disorganized leader holds back a team:
1. Chaotic Urgency
Focused urgency and chaotic urgency are very different. Focused urgency is energy and attention around an opportunity or problem. Chaotic urgency is the state a team or organization perpetually lives in when they are frantically reacting to looming deadlines or last-minute ideas. A disorganized leader can unintentionally spin a team into perpetual chaotic urgency.
2. Missed Opportunities
When a team lives in chaotic urgency, they miss the opportunities that require foresight and planning. When a team is always reacting to a disorganized leader, the opportunity to be proactive is lost.
3. Low Intentionality
A disorganized leader accidentally trains the team to wait and react. The team is hesitant to plan proactively and intentionally for the future because those plans could be interrupted at any moment with an immediate and urgent need that requires everything else to be put on hold. When the not important, urgent always seems to take precedence, the important is crushed.
Leaders don’t need to be gurus in management and administration, but if they ignore the importance of reaching a threshold of organizational competence, they hurt those they are leading.