The Go-Between Fallacy

By November 21, 2021No Comments

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):

  1. Asked to do this.
  2. Trying to save Person A time
  3. Keeping people aligned
  4. Coordinating Issues
  5. 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?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.