Look – leadership is easy. Super easy. I know, because I am a leader, and I see other people doing it wrong. They just need to do it the way I know it needs to be done, and everything will be fine. I should probably be president. Of the world.
Here are the 7 absolutely crucial rules of leadership, which is easy. Follow them, and you’ll be the best leader ever, other than me. And if you don’t become a better leader, you’re probably just not following the instructions correctly. Remember, leadership is easy. Don’t screw it up.
1) Just tell people what to do
You don’t need to earn respect, build credibility, develop relationships, or any of that baloney. All you need to do is wear a big badge that says “I Outrank You” and then tell everyone around you what to do. They’ll comply, and in the process perform exemplary work, because they have to. Why? Because you told them so, that’s why. If there are any questions, point emphatically to your badge.
2) Make people tell you what they think you want
People should have an innate understanding of your expectations. After all, you know what you want, and you talk to people, so they should know what you want based on… synergy or something. Whatever. Just make sure to never fully explain yourself, or else your team will think they can expect you to explain strategies, goals, tactics and expectations regularly, which is plainly ridiculous.
C) You are always right, because you say so
This provides you with the sure-footedness you need in order to make bold decisions. Remember – you are the leader. And because you are the leader, you have the best ideas. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be the leader. QED. In fact, if stacked up side by side with the weak stuff your team brings to the table, your ideas would rise above all others, revealing themselves as empirically superior, systematically crushing the poorly constructed and sometimes embarrassingly conceived suggestions Bill makes. You should fire that guy. And you can, because you are the boss, and you are always right.
IV) Place blame squarely on others
This is the spiritual sibling of the “You are always right, because you say so” point above. Repeat after me: it’s not your fault. It’s Mary’s fault. Or maybe Jim’s fault. But regardless, it isn’t your fault. And if you can’t determine whose fault it is (other than clearly not your own) then simply identify a weak performer associated with the failure and blame them. If they didn’t screw up this time, you know they will soon. You’re just saving everyone time and worry by pre-empting them.
5 Golden Rings) Send emails with ellipses at the end of statements
This relates directly to the earlier “Make people tell you what they think you want” point. Never be definitive. Period.
Clarity is the enemy of creativity and success. If you decide to end all of your written correspondence with ellipses, the reader will have to substitute their own interpretation of the tone of the message, the desired outcome, and possibly even their role in the task or project you are describing. What could be better than leveraging the power of your team (even the screw-ups you manage) to fill in the gaps you provide them in order to maximize the level of thought they need to put into understanding simple communications? And as a bonus, if they get it wrong, you can blame them, because it is their fault, not yours (see “Place blame squarely on others” above).
6) Manage with innuendo and rumor
People sometimes say to me “Dustin, I thought you said to just tell people what to do; how can I do that AND manage my team with innuendo and rumor?” I respond by saying, “If you have to ask, you’re a bad leader. Stop bothering me. And did you hear about Kathy? She’s going through a difficult time right now. I’ll write you an email about it…”
It is vitally important that you try to avoid clear, consistent and direct communication at all costs. People respond best to uncertainty, particularly when it feels threatening. Be sure to have one-on-one conversations with each member of your team ABOUT other members of the team. Bring up information that isn’t necessarily salacious, but make it sound as if it is. Some helpful starters are “I don’t know what is wrong with [name] today, but…” and, “Has anyone told you about what’s going on with [name]?” A personal favorite of mine is “I can’t tell you much, but I wanted you to know that [name] might be …” Using these in combination can be incredibly effective. Also, be sure to swear everyone to silence.
Seven) Focus only on what is immediately in front of you
Tomorrow is for chumps. Next week is for losers. And next year may not even happen. That is why you must, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Never look up – never, never, never, never…” You should only be focused on what is immediately in front of you AT THIS EXACT MOMENT. If something else is more important, you’ll know, because suddenly it will be in front of you, and you’ll have to get it done, like, right now. If you lift your head up for even one moment to plan ahead with your team, you’ll probably miss something CRUCIALLY important right under your nose. And when that happens, your plans become worthless. Don’t bother to take the time to prioritize. Urgency will take care of that for you. Just focus on the task at hand. And if your team fails (remember – they fail, not you) you can just blame one of them because hey, you told them what to do and they couldn’t deliver the goods.
That’s it. If you follow these simple rules as prescribed, I guarantee you’ll quickly grow your leadership capabilities, which will revolutionize blah blah blah who cares. This stuff is easy. Now go away. I have to tell one team member that I’m probably going to have to fire another team member if they don’t start producing better work. That should boost productivity!