When Management Doesn’t Want to Lead: Big Shoes For Everyone Else To Fill.

What C-team wouldn’t sometimes just like to stop leading?  Renounce management, titles and all, without actually retiring, leaving the company, or taking a voluntary demotion.  All that accountability, liability, and that muddled vision thing could just go out the window:  “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”  The ideas that hit the wall would all be someone else’s fault….In any world other than Lewis Carroll’s dreams could this end well?

Recently I ordered a pair of Ferragamo shoes, and not from Ferragamo.  As happens in the shoe world, I realized that I had ordered the wrong color and contacted the seller to cancel the transaction.  I almost missed the first response thinking that the email from the seller’s self-described  ‘fairy glitter princess’ and her ‘sparkle wand’ was spam.  On closer reading, she seemed to be able to get the job done, but a second company response was almost lost in the “Disneyland” dreaming of a customer service “Mousketeer.”  It took two more responses from a “Shea Butter” and evidently the company’s sleigh driver to confirm that the order had been indeed cancelled.  Whew.  Now that’s “personal flair.”  Granted this is different, and different from “normal stagnant business communication,” but what if the customer isn’t channeling Disney or whimsy at the moment and just wants to get business transacted?  In a self-actualized non-management world, is the dominant tone playtime?

Playtime doesn’t last forever.  Bad actors step into the void, some already in the door, some spotting their chance, some let in at the back.  In the real world out there, crime happens every day; there’s money to be laundered, success to be “redefined.”  In a world where cyberthugs work invisibly to unleash damage, insiders play leading roles in leaving doors open and laying the cyberpaths. How does non-management lead in a troubled world, where bad things do happen and predators step into the vacuum with misfeasance, malfeasance, and their weapons, intimidation and abuse?

Fail to lead, step back and let the business, or the practice, self-run, and bad things are going to happen, from within and without.  Leaders take on the responsibility for thinking things through, choosing a concrete vision, and maintaining a respectful, self-aware, ethical tone.  When leaders abrogate their responsibilities, bad stuff fills the void. And when it does, managers cannot hide with the needle in the haystack, denying accountability and liability for the state of entropy that became their only vision thing.

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