When even your most brilliant people begin making half-hearted 'commitments' they don't fulfill, are you self-aware enough to consider that maybe the problem is not with them?

Maybe it's you.

You're wondering why things aren't getting done.

You've hired bright, competent people, with a good work ethic. (Hell, let's even say they're just averagely intelligent people with an okay work attitude.) You've clearly explained to them what they need to do. You've clarified without doubt when it needs to be finished. You're certain they understand why it's important.

Still, it doesn't get done. Repeatedly.

The problem can't be their intellect or capability. It couldn't possibly be their attitude. Even averageness doesn't explain repetitive non-delivery. So what the fuck?

Has it ever occurred to you that they might just not like you? That there's no motivation for them to do it, much less for you. Their inner monologue goes, "Why the hell should I even do it for this fucker? Screw it."

News Flash: You have no clue about anyone's level of 'engagement.' You don't have access to their inner monologue. You never will. No matter what your delusional arrogance leads you to believe about yourself.

Take this Flintstone-era club and boink your head with it. Harder.

People do things for people they like. People do things they think benefit them, things they believe and feel add value to them. People do things that they feel will make them better human beings.

When you prance your bossy, know-it-all ass around ordering people like you know their job better than they do, when clearly you've never even put in a single second to perform or even observe their activities yourself--you're the farthest soul from 'likable.' Or credible. Or value-adding. Or human.

When you turn your nose up and look down on people and say their work is so easy it shouldn't take too long--when the closest you've ever come to that work is at an arm's length of delegation--you're motivating no one to deliver.

Do you even hear yourself? 

You say your job is not to be likable but to make your shareholders richer, your products better, and your customers happier. And, you say, it's your people's job to do their job as you laid it out.


Lead the way you've led, and their job becomes only to return the bare minimum that will allow them to keep their job.

For if you think your job as a leader is just to make your shareholders richer, your products better, and your customers happier--you're the one who's just doing the bare minimum.

People give you back what you deserve.

Ultimately, your job--everyone's job--is to become better versions of themselves, to be better human beings, to elevate what it means to be human. That includes you. You forgot that. Or did you ever know?

Leadership is not easy, but I think it is simple. The traits needed are pretty much the same traits needed to be a decent human being: self-awareness, empathy.

It's not easy. But simple.