Managing ProjectsOpinion

Why ‘Big Picture’ Leaders Aren’t Enough

Phil Dourado quote

“Distance from detail is not a badge of leadership. It’s a sign of detachment from reality.”

– Phil Dourado

Do we believe leaders in an organisation are ‘Big Picture’ thinkers whose only role is to motivate those who plan or do? If so, then this is a shortsighted view of leadership.

Whatever the Big Picture is, it needs to be grounded in reality. There is no magic wand that will make a company’s dreams come true just because the Big Picture Boss said, ‘Make it so!’

The truth is, a leader should hold an overall vision for a company, project or team they are leading but it is based on a synthesis of the details that make up that company, project or team. They may not know the minute detail of every task required to create a product or service, but they should know how that product/service fits within the overall plan.

Part of leadership is to delegate. To delegate is to trust someone else’s abilities. Anything a leader asks someone else to do should be based in reality, that is, it has a reasonable possibility to succeed.

Trust works both ways. A worker needs to be able to trust their leader isn’t asking for ‘six impossible things before breakfast’ or soon they will be running down endless rabbit holes.

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