Leadership: The Not So Little Things

When I write about leadership I often focus on the big things such as taking a principled stand, holding a bold vision, keeping balance in our lives, or inspiring others to achieve great things.

Recent experience has opened my eyes to the many ‘little things’ that go into leadership that affect our ability to be successful at the big things.

For the last few years I’ve been working with a number of data teams that are looking to change the culture in their buildings to include data. What I’ve found is that many of the less successful of the teams have never written their goals. They speak about them in generic terms but there is no solid and clear goal. If they have a goal the rest of the folks in the building don’t know about it.

They rarely have a defined team leader. Sometimes several names are put forth’ but it’s difficult to pin down who is accountable for the leadership components of the team. The members of the team tend to opt in and out of the picture, thus there is constant ‘churn’ and it is difficult to move forward.

There are a host of other ‘little’ leadership issues, such as not returning phone calls and e-mails, little follow through on tasks like scheduling meetings with their team, doing things at the last minute, and not taking advantage of help when its offered, or asking for help when it’s not.

Sure, changing the culture means facing frustrating obstacles. Change doesn’t come easy. But I wonder how many obstacles we create for ourselves?



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