The dictionary definition of Leadership is “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” The traits of effective leadership run the gamut from things like emotional stability, dominance, enthusiasm, tough mindedness, and so on. It’s almost a never ending list of traits because a true leader is also a constantly learning student.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have Bureaucracy. Keep in mind, I’m discussing the Business and Entrepreneurial context of the word, and not the political context of the word. According to BusinessDictionary.com, Bureaucracy is “A system of administration distinguished by its (1) clear hierarchy of authority, (2) rigid division of labor, (3) written and inflexible rules, regulations, and procedures, and (4) impersonal relationships.”
So what’s all this got to do with you and your business?
In a nutshell, the answer is everything.
To be an effective leader you must clearly articulate the difference between the two. As a leader, you must be decisive at all times. You must be able to state your point of view and stand firmly on that statement whether it’s company policy or something else entirely. But there will be times when the decision to be made seems to go against your stated company policy.
This is when bureaucracy comes into play, and it’s imperative that you never allow that to exist within your organization whatsoever. Here’s an example of bureaucracy in action.
When General Ulysses S. Grant, known for defeating General Robert E. Lee of the southern confederacy in the American Civil War, arrived at West Point Military Academy to begin his training, there was one simple problem. Ulysses S. Grant didn’t exist. That name was mistakenly applied to government paperwork in what we can only call an “1800’s typo.”
His real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, and upon noticing the mistake, he asked for it to be corrected immediately. But that didn’t happen because of the bureaucrat behind the desk who stated that it didn’t matter what he or his parents thought his name was. The government paperwork said what the government paperwork said, and if he wanted to be known by any name other than the name on the government paperwork, he would have to change his name.
That is the idiocy of a bureaucrat, and that is the type of blind allegiance given by mindless, thoughtless, ignorant fools who are unable to think for themselves. You should never, ever allow a bureaucrat into your organization under any circumstances.
Your organization will never be successful if the people involved in it only give blind allegiance because of some written policy on some document stuffed away on a shelf, or nowadays, in the cloud.
A bureaucrat is an absolute danger to the success of any organization. And your organization should only be comprised of people who are willing and able to think for themselves and apply rational thought and common sense.
Here’s another example of a dim-witted bureaucratic jack off that’s pulled from the shelves of my own life. As many of you know, I once committed a crime that resulted in my punishment and incarceration. Afterwards, I paid a hefty amount of money back to the state for what’s called “Restitution.” It was a lot of money for me, and it had to be paid back or else.
Well, there was just one little problem. A dumb ass clerk in the courthouse somehow happened to accidentally misfile, or should I say not file at all, the countless receipts from multiple payment after payment after payment that I personally made myself every single week at the courthouse for three years straight! How did this happen? Only God knows.
The result was a hair raising letter from the US Government stating that I was in direct violation of the rules and regulations governing my punishment, and I had to go to court to defend myself.
Needless to say, the moment I read that letter, I called my P.O. and screamed my innocence. But of course, regardless of the fact that I had rock solid, absolutely irrefutable, undeniable, crystal clear, concrete evidence to prove that I was indeed innocent of said violation, bureaucracy took the lead, and I had to go through the court process anyways because the policy was what the policy was.
Lucky for me I had three years of receipts signed, dated, stamped, and in perfect order ready for my defense.
Again, I’d like to drive home the point that bureaucrats do not belong in your organization. Anyone who is not able to think for themselves will only do harm to your organization and to everybody else.
The people involved in your organization need to know the mission it has, and they need to declare their allegiance to it on their own terms, and not because of some policy or documented procedure. They must be able to think for themselves and exercise common sense and rational thought. If they just blindly follow orders with no sense of self whatsoever, then they are dangerous to you and everyone else.
Build your organization with true leaders in mind. To hell with the bureaucrats.