• Cathy Melton

The Problem with "Rule-by-Committee" Leadership


The problem with "Rule-by-Committee" Leadership, is that it rarely works. Imagine having 12 Captains taking the helm of a ship. Imagine the confusion the pilot would encounter having 12 Captains directing how to position the rudders just to leave the port. The orders would be inefficient, complex, confusing and dangerous.


I have seen these types of leadership failures within many industries, from a top down management style company, to mergers. The problem encountered with a rule-by-committee:


- Peer pressure

- Competing ego and personalities

- Difficult to get everyone to come to an agreement

- Progress stalls

- Creates diffusion of responsibility


The three most important requirements the committee must agree upon first and foremost, are the Vision, Mission and Core Values of the company.


Although goal setting is essential for success, it is important to prioritize and to establish a one year goal target.


There must be a plan in place that identifies roles and responsibilities. Basic questions to answer are:


1) Who will be the Gate Keeper (the one who will have full authority to keep committee members accountable and on task. This person is also responsible to move the group forward)? This person would be the owner or managing partner.


2) Who will be in charge of assigning roles and responsibilities? Roles should be assigned based on expertise and behavioral strengths.


3) What measures will be in place for accountability? All committee members must be assigned a role with measurable results, held equally accountable, and be task driven and goal oriented. Define what success looks like for each role.


It is important to note that during the above processes, you will need learn to how to identify a past or current bad process/decision. Resist the temptation of holding onto to it. A bad decision/process shouldn't be justified nor encouraged to continue. A quick way to determine a bad process, is to ask yourself, "Does this align with our Vision, Mission, Core Values or goals?". If it doesn't, don't hold onto it. Change or eliminate it.


Don't let "Rule-by-Committee" derail your success.





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