The Fearful Administrator Explosion

High performance leaders are not afraid to draw a line in the sand to achieve big, important goals, and visibly put their own skin in the game. They are committed. Leaders who behave like fearful administrators, on the other hand, avoid clear personal accountability, shift blame to other people within the organization when things go wrong, hide behind broad consensus decision making, and accept the status quo when important initiatives fail. They are involved.

The difference between being committed and being involved is huge: If you have bacon with eggs for breakfast, the chicken is involved, yet the pig is committed.

There are two problems with leaders who act like fearful administrators and avoid putting their own skin in the game. First, when the going gets tough, they are usually unable to take difficult, but necessary decisions. The second issue is even bigger: Leaders who behave like fearful administrators, attract more leaders who behave like fearful administrators. This is called the Fearful Administrator Explosion. The end result of a Fearful Administrator Explosion is always predictable and never good.

Unfortunately, we don’t have to take a long, hard look to find many examples of paralyzed organizations, which are currently experiencing a Fearful Administrator Explosion. The decision to commit yourself to achieve big goals and put your own skin in the game, will therefore quickly set you apart as an effective leader and powerful role-model. This, however, takes courage and persistence: Don’t let the fearful administrators grind you down.


Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/Volosina


Ravi Mahadeo
August 19, 2020 at 6:23 am

excellent article its like saying
Every body wants to go to heaven but no none wants to die

Huseyin Djemil
November 3, 2020 at 8:21 am

Hi Paul. Thank you for another great post. I’ve recently signed up to your newsletter and am taking great encouragement from it and I’m trying to apply it to my solo consulting business to move in a different direction.

    Paul Rulkens
    November 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks Huseyin!

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