Leadership potholes

Photograph your potholes

Nobody likes potholes, and very few of us actually do anything about them; they’re just something to swerve around, grumble about and promptly forget.

I read about  Susan Clements who took a different approach. As an avid biker she quickly noticed her city’s many epic potholes and crumbling streets. Her response? She began photographing them, eventually collecting her “favourite” finds in a nicely printed, full-colour coffee table book — about potholes.

Avoiding potholes

This charming gesture of Clements is ultimately constructive feedback and a mild form of complaint: it draws attention to a problem, creatively.

Do you swerve around or overlook your own potholes?  Do you avoid that road and only take the smooth road? Maybe you fill in the pot holes with a slab of sand that just covers up the problem.

Perhaps you blame administration for the potholes or heavy traffic or the damage caused by new vehicles.  All things considered they’re not your potholes you’re just the road.

Photographs as feedback

At work feedback of any kind, including 360 appraisal, takes photographs of your leadership potholes  and brings them to your attention.

Poor feedback may make some holes look deeper and more dangerous than they really are.

Some photographs of your potholes may be blurry and indistinct so you’re not really sure what you’re looking at.  With a telephoto lens it may look tiny and insignificant. With the closeup lens it may look impossible to fix.

Depending on the value of the photographs, your leadership road may be ripped up entirely, rezoned, patched, ignored, or a detour sign put up.

Excellent photographs are taken early on before the potholes have turned into craters. They assess  the actual character and possible causes of the potholes. They enable you to target specific solutions on the understanding that not all potholes are created equal.

You become involved and learn how to monitor the potholes fixes by taking regular photographs.

It can be a bit painful to dig out a pothole to fill it properly, but it lasts.

If you wish, please share some of your own leadership potholes.

Graham@mca-group.com.au