50 Posts 50 Rules: Tom Peters on Leadership #23

23. Leaders set design specs. 

When I first saw this rule I thought what the heck is Peters talking about here?! I thought we were talking about leadership not engineering or architecture. Then it struck me this rule is more about team culture and “the how” a team achieves the goal. Certainly a leader has a significant say in the final design of a product etc. that is surely important. What is critical is that they manage “the how”

Their actions, words and behaviors set the tone for the enterprise. They personify the culture and how the work gets done. If people have fun it can inevitably be related back to the leader having fun, if everyone walks around like they just left a funeral visitation you will undoubtedly see a somber serious leader with little affect.

Challenge: Go watch the first practice of a sports team preferably a recreational league. See who emerges as the groups early leader. See how they behave and how the rest of the group tends to adapt their behaviors to match. Alternatively join a project team as a team member and watch how the group leaders behaviors get adopted over time.

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