Keith Murnighan is an acclaimed professor at the Kellogg School of Management, and claims that most leaders do too much actual work themselves. In “Do Nothing: How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader” he suggests that Great leaders don’t work; they facilitate and orchestrate. They think of great strategies and help others implement them. They spend their time preparing for the future. They take a broad, comprehensive view of their terrain while also noticing key details, so they can confidently choose the right forks in the road.
They cannot be as effective, thoughtful, or as strategic as they might otherwise be.
Of course there is a difference between doing, and managing. And great doers often get promoted into great managers without the skills or talent to be effective leaders.
That’s where books like “Do Nothing” can come in handy.
Murnighan presents practical strategies and true stories to show how to set high expectations for your team and watch them rise to the challenge. As Murnighan writes, “My experience suggests that you will be surprised—wildly surprised. People on your team will reveal skills you never knew they had, and will accomplish things that go far beyond your estimate of their capabilities. They might not do things the way you would do them, but they will get results you never expected. Everyone has hidden talents, and most leaders never discover them. Before you reject this approach, ask yourself: what if you did nothing and it actually worked?”