Tactics are lipstick

Tactics are lipstick. The internet is full of leadership tactics. I have a quiver full of tactics if someone wants it. Anything from hiring, firing, vision casting, team communications, etc. But a tactic that overlays something that is fundamentally broken won’t get you the results you want. Often the headaches that tactics are trying to solve originate from someplace deeper. “We are losing way too people.” Surface problem: Shortage of people. Tactic: Offer a referral program for the people in your company to recruit for you. Deeper problem: Unexamined. Tactics are lipstick when an underlying problem remains unnoticed, unexamined, and uncorrected. Tactics work better when the underlying system is sound. Leaders: One of our jobs is to make corrections at the deepest possible level so whatever sprouts above that level has the best shot of success. Tactics have a place as the finishing touch not the first stop.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on May 6, 2019

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