I’ve referred to the dangers of a leader being the go-between or the hub of a team. Recently, I engaged in a session that picked this problem apart a bit.
This scenario plays out in this order:
- Person A asks for the Leader to relay information
- Leader relays information to Person B, then realizes C, D, … also need the information.
- Person B+ has questions, additional information that they want the Leader to relay to Person A
- This cycle continues and with each pass until eventually, things blow up.
- Leader feels bad
So I asked the leader, what were the intended benefits of being the go-between (hub):
- Asked to do this.
- Trying to save Person A time
- Keeping people aligned
- Coordinating Issues
- Having control of the status
Then I asked, even if there were zero communication issues, which of these benefits were EVER possible as the hub in knowledge work?
After a long pause, only 1.
In a leader’s quest to be helpful, we can sometimes be too reactive. We prioritize what we think is an immediate benefit at the expense of the long-term benefits. Then add in the reality that rarely does the short-term benefits happen either. Busy doesn’t equal effective. In fact, we can cause damage to our teams and ourselves.
Your value as a leader is not the go-between but helping to create the right environment. Instead, focus on helping our very busy people learn how to collaborate together to achieve some of those intended benefits (you will never have control of the status for knowledge work).
What do you need to see to stop being the leader?