Hitting the Target but Missing the Point

In my direct experience, the most toxic form of #Leadership is when those in positions of responsibility and authority impose numerical- based targets on organisations. They have the mistaken belief that their approach is businesslike and is an authentic and accurate measurement of operational delivery.

The reality is quite different.

The phrase ‘what get’s measured get’s done’ summarises neatly the impact of this form of #Non-Leadership on the culture of the organisation. Like a waterfall, this ‘accountability’ flows downwards, which is the antithesis of #Leadership.

This form of #Leadership is essentially lazy. It enables people who are paid to take responsibility to absolve themselves of this and become Book-keepers who tick boxes. This is instructive as to their mindset and behaviours. They deliver their feedback remotely. Their preference is by the ubiquitous email or by an underling.

These behaviours destroy any pretence of credibility by these #NonLeaders. Invariably they exhibit fear and alarm at the implications of the decision -making having a negative impact upon their smooth and uninterrupted progression up the corporate ladder.

Perhaps most significantly these negative behaviours are felt by their Teams or Departments.

#Leadership is knowing ourselves and those we are responsible for as people, and behaving accordingly. This is an alien concept to such people. Often, they feel uncomfortable having ‘difficult conversations’ with people, even on the most basic level, such as ‘How are you’? let alone ‘What do you think about …?’

The damage caused by this simplification of the true purpose of the organisation is that motivation is damaged for those they are responsible for. There is no ‘Big Picture’ or Business Strategy to energise and engage people. it’s a dumbing down of perspective.

The picture above is symbolic of the Falklands War of 1982. I use this picture to illustrate the importance of #Leadership imbuing the organisation in the ‘Higher Purpose’ that is critically important to deliver sustained success and that demands significant, sometimes extreme (as in military operations) levels of voluntary commitment by the team.

Another negative aspect of the ‘bean-counting ‘ mentality is the corollary of ‘Gaming’. This is when actions and behaviours are skewed to such an extent that they have a corrosive effect upon the ‘Higher purpose’ of the organisation, by those who actually deliver operationally.

People realise that they will be evaluated, praised or criticised on the basis of the attainment of the ‘Targets’ which often have little or no bearing on what matters to the customers. At it’s worst, lives are lost or unnecessarily damaged, and the Brand Reputation of the organisation is tarnished. Sometimes irretrievably.

Note: Featured Image courtesy of Quince Creative.


Tony Munday
Tony Munday
TONY developed his expertise during his Police career of 34 years. Whilst a Senior Leader, for 15 years, he recognised the challenges and pressures faced by Leaders, including those which were of his own making. Tony was a ‘maverick ‘as a Leader. He became accredited in, and practiced, coaching as a Leadership Style, and Situational Leadership (adopt a style relevant and appropriate to the context). This was unusual amongst colleagues and peers, who maintained a firm adherence to a ‘command and control’ style, on most occasions. Tony recognised that it was impossible for him to effectively lead and micromanage. In order to develop appropriate trust and motivation amongst those he had responsibility for, he ensured that he knew the person behind the role. This enabled Tony to effectively performance manage, with fairness. Where appropriate, Tony practiced a ‘service’ style of Leadership. He saw his role, as providing the strategic direction, the environment, setting the values and developing the people, so they took responsibility for delivery of their own and other’s performance. The subsequent trust gained, enabled Tony to save significant time compared to peers who micromanaged. Tony used this time on strategic planning and development of people, enabling them to maximise their potential, including out of his teams or departments. This was unique amongst his peers. Many peers behaved as if the first responsibility of their team was to make ‘them’ look good. This stifled development of their teams. Tony’s teams and departments consistently outperformed their contemporaries.

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